Recently I’ve become fascinated with the global phenomenon known as Flash Mobs. Type the term in YouTube and hundreds of examples will pop up, of ordinary people, strangers to one another, come together and randomly perform a stunt/dance/song in a public place, and just as fast as they appeared, they dissolve back into the crowd, as if nothing ever happened.
There’s one where a couple of hundred people suddenly freeze for a few minutes in the middle of Grand Central Station in New York. Bewildered passer-byer walk past in wonder. While others take a quick glimpse and walk off. Another Flash Mob, this time set in a train station somewhere in Europe, has two couples starting off dancing to “Do-Re-Me”, shortly joined by another couple, then 5 others, then 10, 20. And you’re never too sure who’s really a stunned innocent passer-byer, or who’s in on the act, as one by one people join in the dance. Another similar dance happens in Liverpool, England, with the whole station filled with people dancing to a medley of songs, and once the music stops, they all walk off into different directions as if nothing ever happened.
It’s amazing because in these modern western societies we live in, it is the self that is paramount. Individualism, private rights, self-freedom, are tenants of the modern western civilisation. While there have been great advancements, many can list the negatives of such a society: materialism, corporate greed, environmental impacts etc. And yet in this highly competitive world, where the pursuit of the dollar is the driver for many, Flash Mob brings a fun form of anarchy to otherwise mundane lives. It’s reminding society that although we are a society of individuals, together we can accomplish great things.
I had one of the best experiences in my short life on Monday night at the “I Love the Islands” concert at Vector Arena, Aukilani/Auckland. In an arena full of 10,000 kiwi’s, we came together to not only enjoy New Zealand/Niu Sila music, but we came together to support the Samoan Tsunami relief effort. Although not quite a Flash Mob, the coming together of the Niu Sila public to show their support for the relief effort had that strong communal feeling of achieving great things together, just like a Flash Mob. People from all walks and life, different ages, ethnicities, social backgrounds, all came together to dance and sing with one another. To our right were two Palagi women in their 40’s, while to our left were a young Maori couple. Behind us were very noisy young Samoan girls, and directly in front were an Asian couple. Yet every song we all sang, whether we knew the words or not. Every act, we danced liked no-one was looking. Every cheer, we shouted and yelled up to the heavens.
Always keen to be where the party’s at, my wife and I got there early and were near front of the stage. And sure enough we were head banging through the Rock songs, jumping up and down to the Hip-hop jams, and swaying side to side to the country music. And they were all Niu Sila performances too! From Dave Dobbyn, Neil & Tim Finn, to reggae band Sweet and Irie, pop urban Hip-hop Nesian Mystic, Soul sounds of Holly Smith, to the rap battle between Scribe and Savage. J Williams got the whole arena to wave their cellphones in the air, creating an awesome spectacle for us on the floor. The sweet sounds of Adeaze singing in Samoan, followed by Feelstyle’s raps in Samoan. 0,000 was made only on door sales, not including the money put into the donation boxes. The concert has already performed in Christchurch/Kalaisitete, and Tauranga, and will end in Wellington/Ueligitone. A smaller scaled fundraiser concert is being planned for this coming Monday (Labour Day holiday), at Telstra Pacific, Manukau. Other fundraisers included containers full of donated food, clothes, utensils etc, school and church rallies, art exhibitions etc, with one little boy raising ,000 in his region.
But it was great to be part of a special night, where random people, had come together to show their love and support to our family back in Samoa, while enjoying the eclectic range of music we have here in Niu Sila. The communal reaction and outpouring of assitance from our homeland here in Niu Sila to our homeland of Samoa allows us to take a little glimpse of the bigger picture. That sometimes, there’s more to life than being in the rat-race, that life can have so much more meaning, that great things can be achieved when we come together.
Thank you to the performers and organisers who volunteered to make the concerts happen. But also on behalf of Samoans, if I may, thank you to the people of Niu Sila, for sharing the love.