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Fakahingoa- To name


Wow, it's already July. 5 more months until 2022 is done. Lately I've been thinking about new beginnings. What is a better new beginning than being a baby,

which is the random driving idea where this piece, "Fakahingoa" came from.

When babies are born, there are certain naming traditions associated with each culture. Let me share what little I know about Tongan and Japanese naming traditions.

In the Tongan culture, the naming of the child, especially the eldest child, is often given to the paternal side of the family. My name, ‘Alamoni, was from my father’s distant maternal Felemea side of the family.

‘Alamoni (Lahi) was my paternal grandmother’s distant Felemea relative, and she and her husband (Sione Hausia Maumau) were teachers in Fonoi when my father was a child. When he showed academic potential, they took him in and informally adopted him. When their teaching term at Fonoi was completed, they took him with them back to Tongatapu, where he enrolled in Tonga College ‘Atele (TCA) and where Sione Maumau was a teacher. When Sione Hausia and ‘Alamoni lahi were transferred to Vava’u, they took him along again, and my father finished his high school education at Vava’u High School. It was at their influence that he entered Teacher’s Training College (Kolisi Fakafaiako) and met my mum (who was teaching Soroban there) but that’s a different story for a different day. 😂

When I was born, my father asked his father (‘Aisea lahi) to name me. However, my grandfather was insistent that that honour goes to ‘Alamoni and Sione. And so, I was named after ‘Alamoni Lahi. I was told Grace was a name that she liked, and it meant “Blessed and Favoured by God”. Here we are today, ‘Alamoni Grace. ✌️

On the other hand, in the Japanese naming traditions, a lot of thought and consideration is put into the child’s name, especially as the kanji (Chinese characters) for the name can be written and interpreted as different things. Feminine Japanese names usually emphasise beauty, charm, purity, or flower names. On the other hand, masculine Japanese names usually emphasise strength, good health, wisdom etc. With so much care and deep thought that goes into the name, parents give their children names with the hope that their children will grow up and embody the meaning of their name. Names carry the parent's hope of how they want their children to grow up as.

On that note, there’s this thing in Japan called “Namaemake”. Namae means Name and make means loss. So Namaemake basically means not living up to the potential/power/meaning of your name. I guess the Tongan equivalent is when people say "Maumau e hingoa". Literally translated as "What a waste of a name".

Names are powerful. I wrote “Fakahingoa” with the Tongan naming process and the Japanese Namaemake in mind. I really like my name ‘Alamoni (although I go by Moni most of the time). I like the history and story that goes into my name. I like that my name connects me to people and places. On the other hand, GRACE is where I feel I lack so much. I’m so Namaemake when it comes to Grace 😅 😂. Taking on the Grace meaning “Blessed and favoured by God”, I have certainly been very fortunate in my life to have had so many opportunities, especially jobs and academic scholarships offered to me. Those are indeed true blessings. However, when I think of showing and practising Grace to match my name by being patient, compassionate, kind and loving to people even if they might not appreciate it, deserve it or reciprocate it. It's hard for me to do 😢 😭. I'm really not a turn-the-other-cheek kinda person. An eye for an eye is more my style and I don't know where I got it from lmfao 😂 🤣.

Jokes aside, I still have a long, long way to go to live up to the Grace in my name. One day we'll get there. Mahalo. 😂

That's it from me. What’s the story behind your name? Tell me about your fakahingoa.

Until next time. ‘Ofa atu.

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