Tuesday, September 11, 2007


HE was crowned the first Hibiscus King in the history of the Hibiscus Carnival but behind the king is a humble, respectful and down to earth person.
And if there is something 22-year-old Emosi Ah Ching is proud of, it is his Samoan heritage.
He said it was an honour to be a regional student taking part in such an event.
The third-year dental student at the Fiji School of Medicine said he had never regretted entering the pageant although he was in two minds about it when asked by friends.
Ah Ching is from the village of Vailea Tai in Western Samoa.
He started his primary education at Pesega Primary School and then Sackville Street Primary in Australia.
But he wanted to go to school in his homeland so he attended Marist High School in American Samoa before returning to Western Samoa where he joined Saint Joseph's School before enrolling at the University of Samoa.
Ah Ching came to Fiji in 2005 to enroll at the University of the South Pacific and then joined the Fiji School of Medicine.
He is not the first in the family to study in Fiji; his elder sister graduated from FSM last year while his father was a graduate from the institution and now practices medicine in American Samoa.
"The greatest challenge about coming to Fiji is that I am here to study.
"With studies and endless freedom given to us in campus, only the fittest will survive.
"Other than that, everything is just as similar back at home, the lifestyle the culture and tradition and of cause the friendliness of the people."
Ah Ching said it was an essence of the Pacific people the smiling faces one gets to see everywhere.
"There is not much difference. In Samoa the family is the foundation of everything and we have our own resources which we utilise to keep us going and there is also the system of share and care which still exists today.
"This, I believe, is what makes us unique. Even when one is from another Pacific island country he or she should always display some of his characters."
When asked what made him enter the Hibiscus Carnival, Ah Ching smiled and said his friends pushed him into it.
"I'm glad I agreed to be part of it and winning the contest was something I did not expect," he said.
"After agreeing, I made sure I would portray as much traditional custom of my island country as possible."
And this he did when he left the crowd breathless with the lively Samoan dance he displayed at the talent night.
"I think I did a good job and would like to thank all the support I have been receiving from my mates at FSM."
Ah Ching said the perception that pageants were only for women should be brushed aside now because it was also an opportunity for men to showcase what they had and their ideas on national issues that are affecting the country, region and the world today.
He said the funny thing about the contest was that he was supposed to be smiling and waving all the time he was in front of the public.
"At times I was not smiling but laughing at myself for waving and smiling to the crowd," he said.
"But I managed and it was such a great experience in my life.
"I thank the organisers for allowing a regional student to be part of the contest and I hope I will not be the first nor the last to enter such a pageant."
Ah Ching said there were three foundations in life that made a person a better one in life.
"First, one should set a solid relationship with Christ," he said. "Second, with the family.
"Third, with his culture and traditions."
Ah Ching said if all three were built on a rock-solid foundation, everything would fall into place.
For the time being, the Hibiscus King is hooked up with his studies. He said there was one thing he feared the most in life and that was failing his parents.
But for now, the Hibiscus King is concentrating on his studies for his final exams and hopes to be the best dental surgeon in Samoa and the region.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online