Sunday, 3 February 2013


They say diabetes is a silent killer
a thief in the night
that creeps up to you like a moetolo
embracing you against your will 

but I saw him coming
in the WTO siusiu pipi and mamoe
and 5 cans of coke I had
before lunch

I saw him coming
but in my Samoan pride
I scoffed.

laughed like it was a fale aitu

and said

aga ou te le fefe i le oti.

They say diabetes is a silent killer
so we don't say much about him
as we shovel suka into our koko alaisa
and sneak off to shove a needle in our stomach

and when he strikes
and takes my eyes
                      my teeth
                               my legs

I will say

the Lord works in mysterious ways

and be praised

for my faith.


I don't have diabetes. Yet.  But when I hit 99kg I knew I was staring at it, and a whole lot of other heath problems, down a barrel. 99kg is severely obese for someone who is 5'6.  And no amount of telling everyone, especially myself believing that I have 'big bones' or that the BMI is different for Polynesians is going to change that.

Sia Figel's bravery in speaking out about her very personal struggle with diabetes showed me how we all have to speak out and own that our health statistics are a tragedy. It also showed me that I have to take action to not be one of them.

Sia was brave enough to put this harrowing and very personal video on youtube, to show us her very roots, literally.  I watched it.... right through. Because if some is brave enough to share this sh@#, to say 'F%#$ pride, this my friends, is diabetes, take a good hard look', I will honour that, by watching it right through. I hope you will too.


Sila Aiono said...

Watching the youtube clip I couldn't help but cringe and think...this is the reality of diabetes!
Too many times do we have the mindset of the person depicted in the poem, too many of us think the moekolo wont strike or scoff thinking when it does I'll fight back....but you can't fight adequately enough when it attacks your eyes, teeth and legs.
Thanks for the reality check...time to have an inspection of my my life...its better to prepare and prevent then to repair and repent!

Teine Samoa said...

Thanks Sila, As a champion procrastinator, Sia's video definitely made me reexamine whether I could keep putting off trying to get a bit healthier. I like your prepare and prevent line- you should add it to Sia's fb page- link above!

heta pateta said...

Sia is an amazing woman ! Her motivation was her son, Malamalama and she is an inspiration to me as well, I met her through my sister and she's a very wonderful person. I believe that what she's doing is absolutely fantastic ! She's lost a lot of weight and she shares her struggles, ups, downs and in-betweens with all her Facebook friends and I just love her attitude and lifestyle change(:

Teine Samoa said...

Hi Heta, I'm in furious agreement! I've had mad respect and love for Sia since I first heard her read from 'Where we once belonged' when I was 16.... and that was a long long long long time ago!

Vitoria Ape said...

Hi Sesilia! I remember reading this poem last year and would like your permission to post your poem (with your name of course!) on my Facebook page to share with others. I will check back and if you give me permission to do so, I will. I love your style of writing and look forward to reading more of your work.

Teine Samoa said...

Hi Vitoria,

Thanks for asking- I am fine with anyone sharing my poems (that's why I put them up) as long as they acknowledge where they sourced it from (here).

I'm glad it spoke to you.