“Fark you fat stupid uneducated palagi lard and kiss my ass”:
It beggars belief that the Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, would have as his media advisor someone like Tupuola Terry Tavita, who contributes such gems to Grubsheet. What an adornment to Samoa this world class wordsmith surely is! What an adornment to the English language! Such an amazing grasp of punctuation! Such brilliant mastery of the mother tongue of Shakespeare!
Grubsheet warned Terry Tavita this morning that if he persisted with his willful and unlawful contempt of the current trial of deposed Fijian prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, he would not grace these columns again. As Neville Chamberlain famously put it: “I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received”. On the contrary, rather than heed our pleas not to jeopardise Qarase’s trial, Terry responded in far more strident terms, likening the Fijian court hearing the case to a hopping Australian marsupial. You get the drift. As a journalist, Terry knows this is a blatant legal provocation but I guess when you’ve already got a breakfast skin-full in some Apian dive, what the heck. The Fijian judiciary doesn’t reach that far and wouldn’t want to.
Terry’s constant racism is one thing. Thakur Ranjit Singh – the former editor of the Fiji Post – is a “little Indian”. “Chand” – one of our regular contributors – is a “stupid Indian”. And Grubsheet is “fat, stupid Palagi lard”, Palagi being the colloquial Samoan term for a white man. Now, Terry Tavita himself hardly subscribes to the adage that “you can never be too rich or too thin”. He seems to have ample enough means judging from the testimony of Suva’s good-time girls but his own girth is such that Grubsheet, for one, would never want him in a dominant physical position. But it’s not jibes about size that we get upset about but skin colour. It’s just not acceptable to talk like this in polite international society anymore even if it’s par for the course in Samoa.
Yet even overt racism wasn’t enough to get Terry banned from these columns. Our patience has finally worn out on legitimate legal grounds, for defying our successive pleas not to make public statements that are in contempt of Qarase’s proceedings. It’s not just Terry’s action in exposing Grubsheet to potential legal consequences but the appalling hypocrisy attached to his juvenile and reckless behaviour. While he rails about the need for democracy in Fiji, he willfully tries to subvert the country’s legal processes and bring the judiciary into disrepute.
So for the second time in the brief history of Grubsheet, a contributor has been silenced. We recently banished one Wilson (Ilisoni) Tamanikaira for compounding his own racist rantings with an exhortation to Fijians everywhere to bash Grubsheet on sight. Now the media advisor to the Samoan prime minister joins him in the extremities of cyberspace, where they can loiter menacingly out of sight. We’ve pressed the “Spam” button on any future comments – somewhat appropriately for a Samoan – although we looked in vain for one labelled “Bully Beef”, which in Terry’s case would have been even better.
It’s very strange that someone like Terry from a tiny country like Samoa makes such a big noise. He seems to think that being famous for fire dancers, illegal firearms and fa’afafine– the local transvestites – somehow entitles his country to hold itself up as a shining beacon to the region. Yet there’s no way that his counterpart in Fiji would ever behave in the same boorish manner. Sharon Smith Johns may be occasionally feisty but she’s colour blind and passionately believes in racial equality. Terry Tavita – on the other hand – sanctimoniously goes on about “democracy” while displaying the most disgraceful chauvinism and prejudice.
Anyway bye-bye, Terry, or Tofa Soifua as your blighted countrymen might say. I’d like to say it was nice knowing you but despite once sharing a friendly beer, my exposure to your “charm” has left me decidedly underwhelmed. You’re actually everything that is wrong with your government – under-performing, loud-mouthed and smug. But you’re also a racist lout who’s an embarrassment in contemporary Pacific society. Now, bugger off and go and harass someone else.
FURTHER READING: Terry Tavita evidently takes a keen interest in Samoa’s transvestite community. Here’s a link to a story he wrote on his boss – the PM – telling fa’afafine that they are special but warning them not to stay out too late at night. Is it linked, perchance, to Terry’s nocturnal perambulations and lurid accounts of “girls” being chased into nightclub toilets? (see previous posting).