Samoa Observer’s Sunday edition published a photograph of a Samoan Faafafine who had recently committed suicide. Journalists around the world know VERY WELL that putting photos of dead people hanging is something you JUST DON’T DO – let alone with a homosexual! These guys not only did it on the front page, it was full-face identifiable body shot! Interested more in how they were responding to the negative feedback, I read many of the commentaries deliberately avoiding any links that may contain the photo, but unfortunately stumbled upon it despite my best efforts. My heart stopped, the hair went up on my neck and I exclaimed aloud, “Oh Fuck!” [yes literally]. This was a REAL F*ck-Up of the highest order, even for a tabloid. Then the owner of the local rag refused to comment, defended once, then apologised – sort-of! Samoa Observer, you’ve made another HUGE mistake!
Their first mistake was ripping me off in business – a BIG mistake. Many a fool has learned over the years that it’s not wisdom to take on a fighter like me, a man of principle. The second was fighting a blogger not afraid of telling it how it is (what did you expect Sano – that I wouldn’t tell the world ’bout you?); then hiding when caught out; then lying in court documents when called to account; then trying to sue me for defamation on the back of those lies when any half-baked lawyer should have advised them that they don’t have a case and now publishing the photo of a person who had committed suicide THEN offering some flimsy excuse for their stupidity when called to account in Social Media. and then speaking even more stupidity at their OWN story when they said about themselves:
Asked for a comment, Savea and Mulagi’a 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.”
Wisdom rarely goes with those who pontificate – as I have said before, noise and truth are generally opposites.
Over the last three years or so I’ve spent a lot of time learning about the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Samoa’s local rag, Samoa Observer. You do that naturally when somebody rips you off. Mr Malifa did that to me to the tune of a few thousand tala. I blogged about his foolishness at the time, then bid my time. After two and a half years, I sued his company in the Samoan District Court for $3,500.00; defended a $2m defamation counter-claim and counter-counterclaimed for $2m in reply (which is the correct biblical response when someone goes to court on lies – false testimony requires that a liar in court pays the price that would have been the innocent parties punishment if found guilty on the basis of false testimony).
So I have a beef with the owner of this commercial organisation and rightly so.
Sano (his given name), was previously entitled Savea (his longtime Matai titlename), Malifa (his surname) has a new title, Gatoaitele thus giving him his full titled name now: Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa.
My take on Mr Malifa is that while he is a very successful businessman (simply look at the size of his various houses and business) he is in fact a fool. If the judge agrees with his laywer, then I’m up for a $2m judgement for defamation because in explaining to the world how Samoans live in the world of gossip, I used him as a prime example of a sucker in my first post. If the judge awards this fool even one sene (cent) of my hard-earned honest net worth, I’ll be asking him (or her) if I paid the punishment again could I say it please again?
Mr Malifa was fooled by gossip and as I said “acted like a dick” when he was found to have made a mistake. He’s since apologised to the world, to the family of the boy/girl that killed him/herself and to his readers. This analysis of his apology is my best efforts at presenting the truth to the world – not only about the world but about the Samoa Observer and its owner and Editor-in-Chief, Mr Malifa. It’s not pretty but I believe it to have a strong flavour of truth to it.
There are three responses that I can make out from this entity Samoa Observer:
- A refusal to comment (to their own reporter writing in their own paper!)
- An explanation/defence/apology “if you are still offended” sort of thing (reproduced at the end of this post);
- And the real (sort-of-apology I dissect here)
Mr Malifa’s apology is entitled: “Apology to our readers”. There in the beginning is the real truth. Mr Malifa is a businessman, and it is money that drives him. He worships money and will do whatever he wants if he thinks it will get him money or save him money. He therefore apologises first and foremost to those whom have the potential to deny him money – his readers.
On the surface this might not seem very much, but when you put it into true context, that this is a man driven by the love of and seemingly a desperate need for money it makes sense. In an investigative sense it’s not proof but it could be seen as a strong clue nonetheless. For me, the victim of his greed, knowing that he prefers to retain his wealth over doing the right and honourable thing, the entire apology offered and the words it contains screams – “I do this because I have to [to protect my income streams]!”
Now I’m not God and I don’t know the man’s heart fully but from where I sit, sure, there may be a smidgen of remorse, but rest assured, as proven with his immoral dealings with me, he would NEVER in a million Sundays have done the right thing and offered this apology if he felt he didn’t HAVE to AND that it would affect his income streams.
Think about it . . . the quote above comes from a Samoa Observer story above where both owners of the Samoa Observer (husband and wife) allow this to be written about themselves in their own newspaper: “Asked for a comment, Savea and Mulagi’a said they have nothing to say.”
Are you getting the picture here?!
And now there is an apology – of sorts?!
Let me say this is not an easy letter for me to write.
Why not Mr Malifa? We all mistakes. You screwed up so it’s only necessary, right, simple and proper to fix the problem isn’t it? Or are you a proud old Samoan man who doesn’t want to bring shame onto your titles, and villages and family by saying sorry? Pride Mr Malifa prevents us from doing the right thing, and for the Godly it is the easiest thing in the world to confess, say sorry, indeed some of us actually WANT to right the wrong. I’m sad that you found it hard to do the right thing.
May I give you some advice sir? You have a court hearing coming up in August over the money you owe me. You have commenced a spurious defamation case against me for $2m which you may be found to have lied, to the court, a crime called perjury and potentially having to write out a very large cheque to me. While you will never deign to apologise to me in person or in your newspaper, you will be saying the same thing in private about writing that cheque. Let me help you with a prediction that you will be saying: “Let me say this is not an easy
letter cheque for me to write.”
Still, I feel duty-bound to write these words,
OMG! FFS! How you pontificate sir! You have p*ssed off the whole LGBT community and half the world is mocking you. Why? Because you upset their FEELINGS . . . and you FEEL DUTY-BOUND?????!!!!!
Mr Malifa . . . you have NO CLUES. Most people, and especially those in positions of responsibility in society know instinctively that they should respond to feelings WITH feelings – not pontifications. It’s the first lesson in handling the Media who are annoyed with you – empathy, sir. Show some empathy PLEASE! You sir, are up-yourself and show again what I called you out on before – you responding here because you simply HAVE to.
since it is our duty to tell the public we serve, the truth.
Well there, what did I just say? “OUR DUTY”!
I don’t give a rat’s behind what YOU think or what YOUR duty is Mr Malifa. Who are you, apart from an arrogant fool who has screwed up to tell me, a member of the public who knows that you are a liar, a rip-off artist, and fool that you “serve” me or have anything to do with the “truth”? Your arrogance here is simply disgusting. You and truth reside at total other opposite ends of the church hall.
Let me tell you something about truth sir, and the boy/girl who sadly took their own life. I never knew him/her personally but people like you think that you’re all in control of life – pretending that you’re are not messed up. People like him/her are often more honest because know that they are messed up and just get on with life doing what they want more honestly than you. In Christianese we say that the former pray, “Oh Lord forgive me because I have sinned” and the real one prays, “Forgive me Lord, for I’m a sinner!”
My advice is that you listen to me – not yourself!
The truth is that last week, we made a sad mistake when we published a story on the late Jeanine Tuivaiki, on the front page of the Sunday Samoan.
You used the wrong word here Mr Malifa . . . it’s not a “sad” mistake, it’s a BIG mistake; a HUGE mistake – just like the weasel words you use in this pathetic excuse for an apology. Are you sad for the people you hurt, or for your pocket, or your reputation and Samoa’s leading light of a journalist and newspaperman?
We now accept that there has been an inexcusable lapse of judgment on our part, and for that we are sincerely regretful.
When your turn is up Mr Malifa will you be speaking to the Master in these terms? “We” this and “We” that? OMG The arrogance of newspapers and journalists to call on the majestic plural makes me puke.
Mr Malifa, you are old-school and you write from the older perspective and use the older generation’s thinking. Sir, these are poofy words suited for the Queen’s staff speaking on her behalf. You gotta get down and dirty nowadays to be believed. “Oh Sh*t! OMG We screwed up! WTF was I thinking at the time. I’ve really gone and done it now . . . ” This is REAL Mr Malifa. This is the language that you, yes even you need to use in these sorts of situations.
When I was in your office I offered you my services. Like the fool you are you believed the gossip and mocked me. I offer my services to you again now Sano, but this time it is in public the public domain. This is what you SHOULD have said in your apology, which I would have checked, edited and strategically advised you on, if you had bothered to ask me – for publication on the front page with YOUR photo on it:
OOPS – WE SCREWED UP!
In yesterday’s Sunday Samoa, we ran a front page story with a photograph of a victim of suicide. This was a BIG mistake and we’ve got roasted on Social Media for doing this and rightly so. It was my judgement call to run it and I was TOTALLY WRONG to do it. I take full responsibility for this and I am REALLY sorry – sorry to [name all the people, and the reasons].
THAT’S an apology that people MIGHT believe you for Mr Malifa.
So you continue:
Yesterday, we met with members of Jeannie Tuivaiki’s family at their home at Vaiusu, where we extended our sincere apologies,
Great, and did they accept it, or are they smart enough to know that you only did it because you have to?
You see Mr Malifa, half of Samoa don’t know you and the other half who do knows that you’re a crook – that you are feared in your business; that you are all about money; that you don’t pay people when you should and that you expect people to work overtime but don’t pay them overtime, and there’s more too that doesn’t apply to the subject of this post.
If this family trusted you, and accepted your apology then you will have patched things up for sure . . . well done. And they agreed to you mentioning them in your paper? They had a statement to make? You have a joint statement of course, like it is normal to do in the Samoan culture?
Now I wasn’t there and in time you might do the honourable thing and pay for the funeral [cough, cough, that would hurt eh?] and do the FaaSamoa BUT I suspect (and don’t try to sue me on this, I only suspect) that you have used this family again, and that they have NOT yet forgiven you. I’ll tell you why I think this Mr Malifa . . . in the Samoan culture a wise man would wait until the others’ anger had died down and then later, only when you had printed a full and real apology in the paper and the family was ready to accept you would you then complete the ifoga and only then would you normally present a united Samoan happy face to the world.
I think that you went there maybe with a bit of remorse but that you went there because you knew that you had to and you reported that you went there in your apology so you could look good to the world.
I think that you wanted desperately to try to show the world that you care, when you only care about yourself, and most likely the family received you because they didn’t want to look bad, but really they were still angry with you and probably deep down inside despised you.
You spoke to their village of course? You did it the Samoan way of course? I doubt it!
and we are now thankful that we have done so.
WTF? [That’s common talk for WHAT THE F*CK? Mr Malifa and the * is a U! It’s not the way you talk but it’s where 99% of the world are now]. This is supposed to be an apology Sano – not a statement of your righteousness.
Do I not prove my point here in your own words?
Again who gives a rat’s behind about how thankful YOU are? I want to know from THEM that they are grateful – not YOU! I want to know from them that you paid for the funeral and that they are truly grateful and that God is good because Samoa is all happy and friendly and forgiving etc – not some Palagi-type, brush it off quick saying, “Sorry!” so you can tell the world that you said, “Sorry!”
Nah! There’s a rat in your apology story here Mr Malifa, and it’s an ugly one I reckon.
And so to Jeanine’s family we are very sorry.
Good! And so you should be too. I only hope that they gave you an absolute roasting. If I was there I would have done so on their behalf.
To the L.G.B.T community in Samoa and abroad, we offer our humble apologies.
Good. Now Sano did you ever think to identify with them? Did you ever think to slip in any of the screeds of complaints and address them and accept their logic, passions and feelings? Nope – just an offer of humble apologies.
Mr Malifa, you can be the biggest homophobe on the planet, curse them as the devil but even they have feelings that you’ve hurt so it would be appropriate to address them – perhaps? Look sir, as a ‘straight’ Christian I don’t accept their lot as biblical and I obhor the bedroom and bathroom stuff that happens around the LGBT community – it sickens me to my core – but I do and will understand that this time it is you who screwed up and even the devil has rights to exist and do what he wants. Tell these people please Mr Malifa that you know and understand how they feel will you? SHOW them that you do too.
What a missed opportunity you had!
We want you all to know, that there is never an intention on our part to denigrate or discriminate against anyone, at any time.
You know . . . this time I believe you Mr Malifa. I really do.
Why? Because only a fool would have done what you did. Fools cannot plan things to denigrate or discriminate one sector of society – that is evil and requires substantive planning based on intelligent pre-thought, guile and cunning – none of which you have. Fools just do stupid things, showing off, thinking that they are cool, or get a shock factor to make more sales or simply NOT thinking straight.
Over the years, the Samoa Observer has been a strong supporter of the Fa’afafine community here in Samoa, through sponsorships and assistance with their community coverage.
This is the time when the violins start playing in the background and we all listen to the big-shot businessman who has won awards for whatever and who is the self-appointed moral police of Samoa. Not!
Today, I sincerely apologise to our readers and members of the public, for coming out in the open this way. There is no other way to explain how it feels.
Oh Mr Malifa, those are NOT the words I would have used in discussing this subject. ‘Coming Out’ has another meaning you know? Is this a Freudian Slip? What you are saying doesn’t even make sense here – it’s weird English. Are you mocking this sector of society? People who don’t trust you will see it this way you know? Did you not have an Editor run over your words before you published them? Did you not avail yourself of marital opinion? Or is Jean not able to reason with you?
I will grant you this though Mr Malifa, your phrase “There is no other way to explain how it feels.” shows that you do have feelings. Your sentence doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t relate to any feelings (you didn’t really mention any!) but it does indicate that there is a morsel of humanity below your mop of snowey maturity.
Since the story in question was published in the Sunday Samoan, an outpouring of irate letters of criticism from here in Samoa, and abroad were received.
Keep it simple sir . . . “Since we published it” . . . keep your sales pitch out of an apology please. An outpouring is singular. It should be “was received”, not “were received” and much better in English grammar to be direct with “we received”. I can get away with this because I’m ‘only’ a blogger but you’re a professional newspaper man with awards – remember?
We want to remind that whenever we make a mistake, we apologize as soon as possible.
Oh FFS! Whatever you are smoking I don’t want a bar of it. “We want to remind” – “whenever we make a mistake” – “we apologise”
Have you no idea how poofy, arrogant and high-minded this sounds to ‘normal’ people Mr Malifa? Get over yourself!
It follows that all the letters criticising us over the handing of this matter, are published today in this edition.
I tell you what, there’s one letter you will NEVER publish in your newspaper, this edition or the next or the next, and it is THIS letter, or indeed anything from me! I wonder why?
We sincerely accept that we’ve made a mistake.
Yup and this apology is yet another one! When will you ever learn? First it’s not about you Sano. Secondly you are out of touch with reality. Thirdly it’s not the only mistake you’ve made.
My advice? Retire now, sooner rather than later and let someone who’s smarter than you take over the reigns.
Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa.
Editor in Chief.
There is more though, much more . . . did Mr Malifa address the journalism ethics? Not at all. Did he address the cultural matters? Not that I can see. His village? His country that he has brought shame on. H*ll’s teeth, he even quoted the Prime Minister in his own newspaper about this topic no doubt thinking that this would sell a paper or two I’m sure!
This apology is a direct response to the political activism of the LGBT community. They are vocal; politically active and have an increasing role in society around the world. Even the First Lady of America is a Queen if you really want to know [Michelle is actually a Michael] and good on ’em I say. If they do the ‘tricks’ to get the power, let ’em at it. That’s my approach, one that I model on the Master.*
Mr Malifa knows that this is the sector he wishes to bring back onside – for political and business reasons. Journalism standards? Other affected parties? Let me tell you clearly that the owner of Samoa Observer is NOT interested in integrity or doing the right thing – business; money; looking good, of course!
So, that said, Mr Malifa I wish to share with you a lesson from the Good Book – God NEVER told us to say sorry. Search the bible and you will NEVER find one instance where in the Old Testament laws or prophets or in the New Testament by the words of Christ or the writers of the Epistles you can hear the words that we must apologise.
Incredible isn’t it? So maybe you are off the hook?
Nope. There’s a reason for that absence of instruction – it is that God instructs us instead to REPENT and to fix the problem. RESTORATION of the problem is what really matters to Him and He instructs us to extend grace to those who do come to us in peace wishing to resolve the problems we’ve created and want to fix.
Think about the man who was about to bring offerings and to pray. Jesus tells him to leave his gifts at the altar and run back – to what? To say, “Sorry!” Nope! He tells him to FIX the problem and DO the right thing.
Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa, you ripped me off in business and you owe me. When you FIX the problem; when you PAY me what you owe me; then perhaps I will consider that you have some form of integrity. Until then your words are like an empty gong – meaningless as you are two-faced; insincere; concerned only for yourself and your own financial welfare.
I strongly suggest that as you come closer to the end of your days here on earth, that you consider that the exposure you now have here online (in light of your foolishness to publish a photograph of a dead person hanging from the rafters of a Samoan church hall; and your opportunistic insincere, self-serving, amateurish apology [to your readers], and your ripping me off and insane attempt to sue me for defamation) is a horrible, horrible legacy for your wife, your children, the villages you represent with your titles and indeed the people of Samoa.
Shame, shame, shame on you Mr Malifa.
Sano you are past it – old, aging and losing your marbles – nonetheless I hope that you stick around for a while so that I can watch you lie in court!
* One of the tricks they use is seen by other manipulators of public sentiment – any group can do it from the Jews to the blacks, women or the sexually abused can all play the persecution card. I don’t see the suicide picture publication as an especially homosexual thing. The LGBT community is taking their political opportunities over it of course! The homosexual community across the globe has increased its activism with huge success particularly in the last couple of decades. This influence effectively counters the religious (in the West primarily Christian) influence of the many centuries before in societal and cultural (not necessarily personal) level. God’s response to evil (homosexuality is classified evil in the bible) is, surprisingly, not to counter it with force. Political moves, indignation that leads to certain sectors’ ‘rights’ runs counter to His intent, for it is through love, forgiveness and sacrifice that He works His purposes, so to all intents and purposes He lets evil have its way, knowing that it will inevitably implode and self-destruction is assured. His answer is found elsewhere. In a practical sense in Samoa the homosexual community (called “boy/girls” or “Faafafines“) gave up asking me if I wanted company tonight when I explained politely that I was sorry but, “I’m not like you!” and in the respectful way of Samoan culture I leave them alone; respect their right to live as they so choose and they graciously do the same to me. It’s a nice thing about Samoan ways that they do pretty much tend to respect individuality and mind their own business!
First “Apology” from Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa
“It has come to our attention that some members of the public have complained about one of the three photographs, that appeared on the front page of the Samoa Observer on Sunday, saying that publishing it was inappropriate.
The one complained of was on the left side of the page. It was that of a man hanging from a beam inside a church hall at Taufusi; he was apparently dead when the photo was taken.
On the other side of the page was a photo of Prime Minister Tuilaepa and Pope Francis having a conversation; that photo was taken in December last year at the Vatican, during a visit by Tuilaepa.
Over the recent past, the proposal by Tuilaepa to change Samoa’s Constitution to make ‘Christianity’ the country’s sole religion, has drawn much opposition from other religions to the point that there is growing division in Samoa today.
In fact, the leader of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Alapati Lui Mataeliga, said he had not been consulted and he did not agree.
He also said he would prefer dialogue as a way forward adding it was wrong to identify Islam with terrorism.
He told Radio NZ: “I think we should open our hearts and our minds to Islam and not really to rush into condemning Islam just because of terrorists.”
The other photograph was that of the Secretary General of the Samoa Council of Churches, Rev. Ma’auga Motu, who said he would go further and ban the religions of Islam, saying it posed a threat to the country.
“We are not going too far,” he said. “We are still wanting our own people to be prevented from this kind of influence”
He also said: “Even though there are good people there, there are also dangerous people among them who might come and threaten our peace.”
In other words, there is disagreement among our churches and as a result, division is caused so that violence is spawned, and as violence just keeps on growing and growing as we’re seeing around our schools and villages today, painful disunity is commonplace and everyone suffers.
That was how it felt when that photograph showed up.
It was a sad sight.
But then behind the sadness and the pain was the image of Jesus Christ hanging between earth and sky.
It was as if Jeanine Tuivaiki was telling Prime Minister Tuilaepa, Pope Francis, and Rev. Mauga Motu, to make friends with everyone, and let there be peace.
That was the inspiration that guided us to put that photo on the paper’s front page. It was never to demean, vilify or denigrate.
By the way, that photo was not taken by the Samoa Observer; it had been in Facebook since Friday last week.
And so if you’re offended by it still, all we can do is apologize.
– Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa
As an experienced journalist the owner of Samoa Observer failed in his professional duties. NO journalist does this across the globe unless they want to get fired and be pilloried for life. Sano doesn’t have enough years left to undo himself from this stupidity. His reputation is now shot; is dying if not dead.
His response talks here entirely about the religious stuff and nothing of their lack of ethics or personal insults.
On top of that Samoa Observer states that the photo was already on the Internet – thus it wasn’t theirs. The first time this excuse was called up Adam was attempting to slip the blame onto Eve, who then shuffled it onto the Serpent. It didn’t work. God pinged the lot of ’em. Samoa Observer never learns eh?
Ten to a dozen Samoa Observer also stole the image off the Internet as well . . . after all if they steal entire stories, what’s a nice juicy photograph of a local suicide too? I don’t know but the person that took that photograph could claim theft for commercial purposes.
Really, the Samoa Observer business should be put up for sale immediately and sold in a fire sale, with the new owners distancing themselves from the previous owners’ conduct by rebranding it ASAP. It’s a huge disgrace and shame to Samoa.