Jamztoma's Blog License

Monday, December 31, 2012


"Peace on Earth" light display at the Festival of Lights exhibit near Upper
Marlboro, Maryland for 2012 holiday season.  (Photo: Johnny Toma)

So, I posted a status to my facebook account @:  http://www.facebook.com/jamztoma/ looking for wise words, resolutions, and goals from my friends on there for the NEW YEAR OF 2013.  Tonight, I unveil them for the world to read, feel, and/or follow as we say farewell to 2012 and talofa (Samoan), aloha (Hawaiian), malo e lelei (Tongan), kia ora (Maori), bula (Fijian), ia orana (Tahitian), and hello to 2013.  Wow, it has been a year of trials and tribulations for me on a personal note and that's why I am making it my goal to better myself more and to accomplish more for 2013.  Thank you so much to the faithful readers and fans of this blog.  May you all have a rich, blessed, and peaceful 2013.  And to those who submitted their 2013 pieces of advice and personal stories, I am very thankful for your sharing spirit.  
Ia manuia, 


(keep in mind that some of these are their opinions and not those of the blog's...)


Sometimes we become so selfish that we only notice our own pain while ignoring everyone else's. No Bueno. No, Don't do that.... Don't be the friend, brother, sister, father, mother, etc. that was never there emotionally, physically & mentally.  Hold your friends and families close and don't take their "LOVE" for granted! 

Live life to the fullest  Live life as if every moment is precious because you never know what happens tomorrow.Love and live life despite the pain of yesterday. Some people have it worse than we do. Don't take life for granted! Live , love and be happy.
--Jackie Hala, Arizona (USA)


Some say the year changes, but the same o' routine. Seriously nothing happens when we continue to have that mindset. Great things and happy memories can come alive by having faith in the Lord. Life will never be easy, but TRYING is better than doing nothing at all. Have a blessed New Year with a whole bunch of SMILES
-- Carol Alailefaleula-Schuster, American Samoa (USA)


Help a stranger without any of your friends and families knowing about it, not to talk about it (what's the point of doing it and then telling it to someone later).  Have a Happy 2013 everyone!
-- Peter Mariota, Alaska (USA)


"If you do not love yourself, you have no love to share."
-- Julia Toussaint, Maryland (USA) 


The shadow of evil came over Earth,
Flying over our lives, souls and hearts,
Sharpening claws to grab and our last breath.
People of God feels like
That the time of Isa Al Masih (Jesus Christ) has come,
To judge to those alive and death.
Makes our hearts scared, 
But in same time peaceful,
Cause I believe in our God with all my heart,
I know that God as father of all of us
Feels love for us who love him,
And who love what God made - Earth.

People all around the world realize,
That time became much faster.
Hours, Days, Weeks, Months and Years
are traveling by lightning speed.
Faith in our hearts and souls
should give us strength, courage and guidance
in upcoming year 2013.
I wish from our God
That citizens around the World,
receive opportunity for new tomorrow,
where we can all live and work with dignity,
that we all have free schools, Universities, Health care,
and that we all care about each other no matter
of religion or nationality without hate in our mind.
We all need thrue love blessed from God.
I wish you all happy and blessed New Year 2013,
One more year given from God-Allah-Bog-Tuhan-Atua.

Sretna Nova Godina...
Manuia le Tausaga Fou....
Selamat Tahun Baru.... 
Happy New Year.....

-- Toni, Fika, Jakov and soon Dmitry, Indonesia


 I hope 2013 will bring me more success in my life such as starting college and moving to Vancouver with my brother. I hope you all have a good year. 
-- Ike Anderson, Washington (USA)


All I want to say is that looking forward to 2013...prayerful for God's will to be done in my life and my purpose on earth to be accomplished...believing that many blessings are already on their way for all of us.....Happy New Year's to everyone......ALOFA ATU!
-- Nunualofa Tini, American Samoa (USA)


Of all the things that happened in the past year, the one that stood out the most to me is that 2012 marked 9 years that I've spent in a personal exile from my homeland of Samoa. I left Samoa on June 4, 2003 eight months pregnant with Kennedy Katzu, with my then 3 year old Tafilele & my 10 year old Simalei in tow. Our last view of home was flying on PolyBlue peering out at Faleolo Airport, seeing the beaches so beautifully beige & brown and the ocean only a shade or two bluer than the clear blue sky.

We didn't know then that we wouldn't be coming home for a long time.If we knew, we would've taken so much more care to imbue ourselves with more memories to hold on too.

I miss Samoa terribly. I fall asleep some nights with the scent of the early morning sunrise warming up the white ginger flowers that used to grow wilde in the backyard of my childhood home. I miss the chickens that hop up into the trees & crow whenever they want to no matter if the sun came up or not. I miss the stray dogs that used to chase me from the malae to the broken wood steps of my home in Mesepa. 

(And yes, I will confess now that I am older, I really do miss seeing those deeply tanned men in sulu ie's & no shirts & sometimes no slippers, hauling coconuts & taro & breadfruit from the plantation. dark muscles,dripping sweat, tiny swatch of cloth around the middle...ahhh! now that's the stuff that powers a happy naughty daydream!)

I catch myself during the day, turning my face towards the hot Hawaiian sun & remembering that the sunshine in Samoa is hotter, harder, harsher.
(The Samoan sun is for the strongest to survive and thrive. The rest of us move to America, New Zealand or where ever else the currents of life push us too.)

I want to go home. It's so cliched. We hear it so often from ex-pats. I want to go home. We all want to go home. Some of us can't afford it, some of us just hate it, some of the rest of us are so busy running from our home, we haven't take a second thought to consider going back.

But the home of our hearts has a different face than it did when I was last there.

I've heard that Samoa is different. It is essentially the same as the Samoa of my childhood & youth but different. There are new buildings, new politics, new businesses. But underneath it all, when you strip it all down, Samoa is still Samoa.

(She hides herself. She disguises herself. She refuses to show her truest face to all but the most diligent and to some extent the most courageous.)

I want think all of us who've left home, carry a piece of our homeland somewhere deep within us. But like our home, we take on masks & put on makeup that makes us more like the people of our new places. We want to blend in, be one of the peoples that already live in those places. Some of us hide ourselves so deep, we forget. 

(That I can not write this in my native language with the same alacrity and dexterity as I can in English is just one more layer of hiding I can't wait to strip off in the new year.)

I plan to return to Samoa in 2013. 10 years. I will have been gone 10 long brutal growing years. I am not the same selfish womanchild that I was in 2003. I've paid in blood & tears to be strong enough to go home - even if it will only be for a summer. 

I have a list of things I will do when I get home. It's a long list of places I want to walk, people I need to visit, images I need to capture. I want to slip on a pair of knee high boots & stomp around Pala Lagoon. I want to walk from the bottom of the hill in Pavaiai all the way to the top to the end of the road, so I can see Upolu on a clear day. I want to go to Manu'a. I want to plant kalo. I want to knock some ulu off a tree. I want to be able to do a umu from start to finish. On my own. I want to weave a fine mat. (I'll settle for weaving a table place mat. I don't mind starting small.)

And even though this is so totally un-pc for my tree hugging friends, I want to string some rope through an old tire & run it from a mango tree or a ulu (breadfruit) tree branch - and swing. Just hop on & push myself up & away. Up & away. And laugh. Because life is good, even when it's hard.

I want to see if I'm enough to look boldly straight into the heart of Samoa & finally finally finally! claim for myself my true Samoan heritage.

-- Lucy Moananu, Hawaii (USA)


As the year comes to an end let's all just remember the good and bad and just forgive and forget the rest no matter how painful just move on and never give up hope. Life can be very unpredictable so don't weigh yourself down with what's of the past. Leave the past with no regret but a life long lesson to better yourself.  Use it as a motivation or reminder. Plus, never forget that God is the answer.
-- Stella Anastacia Hala, Arizona (USA)


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

JAMZ' TALKS: Panipopo For Your Holidays

The ultra-delicious Samoan panipopo or coconut bun that's a must for
your holiday menu this year as well as forever...  (Photo:  SamoaFood.com)

(PSSSST!... Today is a special day for my blog because it is being guest blogged by a friend very skilled in the Samoan mea'ai/food realm.  Here is our friend Seta Rijkhoff of
SamoaFood.com .)

     Talofa lava everyone, and thanks to Jamztoma for this opportunity. Because of creatives like him we can experience our culture in new and refreshing ways so I hope he keeps the poetry flowing.  It’s that season again and here's a treat that is perfect for making while it’s snowing outside. There’s nothing more satisfying than pulling a hot tray of panipopo from the oven and tearing into it with your loved ones. So here is my recipe for the panipopo. It does take some time, but the results are well worth it. If you’re short of time, then simply use frozen rolls and once they’ve risen, pour the coconut sauce over them and bake.  It doesn’t really matter how you go about it. The important thing, for any food you make, is that it’s made and shared with love.
Happy baking everybody, and let me also take this opportunity to wish all of you and yours a wonderful and safe holiday season.  Once the panipopo is all done, it is best served with tea or hot chocolate.  

Manuia le Kerisimasi ma le Tausaga Fou!!!  

One last thing: Please spare a thought for Samoa that has been hit hard by Cyclone Evan. Four to five thousand people in Samoa are now homeless and lacking basic facilities. So if you can, please donate to Red Cross New Zealand or ADRA whose first response teams are on the ground in Samoa at this very moment.  Fa’afetai tele lava.

Panipopo – Sweet Coconut Buns (makes 12)
1 package (2 and ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water or milk
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2½ - 3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour

Put the yeast and water/milk in a large bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients and mix to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 to 20 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to double in volume. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the buns and place in an ungreased baking tin. Cover and leave to rise until almost doubled. While the buns are rising, preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F, and make your coconut sauce.

Coconut sauce:
½ can canned or fresh coconut milk
½ can water
½ cup sugar
Combine all ingredients well.
When the buns have doubled in size, pour the sauce over them. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the sauce is bubbling up around the edges. Let them cool at least a half hour before cutting into them. This gives the buns time to set up, and also gives the sauce a chance to thicken slightly.
Usually served upside down (sauce-side up) with generous helpings of sauce, but I like to eat them right side up, so I can grab the dry part with my hands, eat off the coconut-soaked part, and then re-dip the drier bread in the sauce as I work my way up the bun.

Youtube video on How to Make le Panipopo 
courtesy of SamoaFood.com

SamoaFood.com is a blog that celebrates Samoan food and offers Samoan-inspired recipes. You’ll find ingredient notes, cultural tidbits, and of course, lots of recipes. It also features interviews with acclaimed chefs and those that are doing great things with food in the islands. Drop by SamoaFood.com or our FB page anytime you need a Samoan food fix or want to create those classic Samoan dishes that with just one bite, take you back to our beautiful islands of Samoa.


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Fa'afetai tele atu lava to SamoaFood.com for their willingness to be featured on my blog this month.  Yes, you should try the panipopo it is so delicious and well-suited for your holiday's (whether it is Christmas, Hannukah, and/or Kwanzaa) menu.  Malo lava SamoaFood.com, this was truly entertaining as well as mouth-watering.  :)