Saturday, March 09, 2019

Seen the way the white man sits?

Let's spread John Northcott's tale from faraway Tonga over a further night. Here's a helping from the next part of the story of the visit of a palangi, a European, to the distant South Pacific kingdom of Tonga.
Then I'll bring it to an end at the end of the weekend.
John's back in North Auckland these days, and an industrious fellow in spite of a negative turn of health.
In an email last night, John admitted his busyness. 'I'm rather engaged editing a friend's writings on climate change,' John said.
'I'm busy, too, doing some work for the local museum, where I'm HoD Artifacts.

I hate deadlines

'Both tasks have deadlines - I hate deadlines.'
I used the translating website Tongan Translator to find the meaning of the title which is a Tongan word - palangi.
John said, 'Tongan Translator is wrong - or at least incomplete. Palangi is a contraction of the Tongan for 'touch the sky' and refers to the tall ships in which the first Europeans arrived.
'There is debate in Tonga about whether palangi might mean simply non-Tongan, and could well refer to people with dark skins as well.'
In the excerpt yesterday, the young wide-eyed narrator can hardly keep his eyes off the actions of the white man.
It seems he never seen mannerisms like the palangi's. His ways are clearly very different way from locals…
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at


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