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Tales of the Tikongs

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  210 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Tiko, a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean, faces a tidal wave of D-E-V-E-L-O-P-M-E-N-T, which threatens to demolish ancestral ways and the human spirit. From Sione, who prefers to play cards with his secretary during work hours, to Ole Pasifikiwei, who masters the twists and turns of international funding games, all of the characters in these pages are seasoned surfers, cap ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published July 1st 1994 by University of Hawaii Press (first published June 7th 1988)
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3.63  · 
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 ·  210 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
3.5 stars

Though a very slim volume, this book contains 12 short stories set in a fictional Pacific island nation that most readers assume to be an analogue for Tonga, the author’s home country. These stories satirize the government, religion, the foreign aid apparatus and aspects of the culture, following island men through various misadventures.

The stories are well-written and enjoyable, and even a reader without personal knowledge of the Pacific can easily grasp the aspects of island life that
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Tales of the Tikongs, is a short collection of short stories by the great writer Epeli Hau'ofa.

The stories describe life in a small island nation in Oceania. Like some countries in Oceania, the people are exceptionally devout (and in the book somewhat intolerant) Christians. They are very isolated geographically, so acquiring simple things is very difficult. The people in the stories tend to get on each others' nerves, because they frequently know each others' business.

The book is very humorous,
Kathleen Dixon
Jan 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is a lot of fun. The author pokes fun at his own people and creates the most hilarious caricatures. The two "tales" that had me in fits of laughter were "The Wages of Sin" and "Bopeep's Bells". Very, very funny.
Tales of the Tikongs is a collection of stories of everyday life on Tiko, a small, fictional island in Polynesia. The stories are humorous and understanding, full of irony towards human failings. They depict the Tikongs as lazy, religious, greedy, opportunistic people, who bend the truth to their own advantage whenever possible. The time is in the eighties, soon after acquiring independence from the British. Most of the citizens of Tiko make their living by acquiring juicy government offices and ...more
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: world-tour
The author has written a series of modern folk tales, in which he is very rude and very funny about post-independence Tonga, Tongans, the Sabbatarian Church, a few other churches and the failure of development projects. I wonder if he is allowed back.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was at a disadvantage with me because I generally don't like short stories. Still, my quest to read more books from other countries brought me to this little book, so I made up my way to slog through it. To my delight, most of the stories are hilarious, so it didn't feel like slogging at all. The two serious stories are good, too, but it's obvious that the author excels when it comes to humor. Highly recommended!
Gabriel Winters
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A comical and satirical criticism of colonialism in Oceania, consisting of twelve short stories set in a fictional Pacific island nation. I rank four stars because the short story format doesn't allow for the character development I enjoy, but this is definitely a worthy, if perhaps somewhat dated, read.
Maud (reading the world challenge)
[#81 Tonga] I liked the dry humor of these tales denouncing the negative impact of colonialism on this little Polynesian archipelago. The references and anecdotes are probably more relevant when you actually know the culture, but it gave me a nice glimpse into it anyway.
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
I'll be honest, I skim read most of these because short stories and I don't really get along, but these were a great insight into another place and culture and the satire was quite funny, but alas, it was not my jam!
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although his stories can be interpreted to be about his homeland, other Pacific Islanders can also relate. So, it's definitely a book worth recommending, especially for those interested in Pacific studies.
[Around the World challenge: Tonga] I really enjoyed the irony and sarcastic humor of these tales, although I'm sure I missed a bunch of references by not being familiar with this culture at all.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Tales of the Tikongs was okay, it was funny and hold some truth about the society behind the people's misadventures.
I can't remember much about this book of short stories by Tongan/Fijian/New Guinean author Epeli Hau'ofa. I borrowed a copy from the San Francisco library, who borrowed it from another institution, and I wasn't able to renew it, so I found myself scrambling to finish it the day it was due and didn't take any notes. But two of the stories are also printed in Lali: A Pacific Anthology, which I have been slowly reading as I work my way through the South Pacific. So I read those two stories again a ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: oceania
These satirical short stories are so hilarious and real. I think Pacific Island university students should read these stories esp. the ones who talk about wanting to help their homeland. Paths to Glory was especially resonant for me. I've lived in Newland for 13 out of my 21 years of my life and I mustn't be deluded about my assumptions of what a developed Samoa looks like (whilst aware of the problems with that term), and how we could get there.

A good laugh combined with very blunt self-reflect
Melina Natalie
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is hilarious. Full of satire, this book provides via small inter-connected stories a critical but funny view of the concept of development, and those agents running it, in the made-up Pacific island of Tiko. Among that many hilarious quotes: "It is said that an American likes to walk talk even though he may be short, and that he occasionally takes a giant step or two for mankind even though mankind may not have asked him to... A Tikong, on the other hand, tends to walk short even thoug ...more
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
** For my personal reading project 2011: Books from the world - Tonga **

The new year has just started! This is the first book that I finished in 2011. It is written by a writer from Tonga & Fiji, two tiny islands in the pacific. The book is a collection of short stories about the encounter of indigenous people of these islands with the west. The stories meant to be lighthearted and critical at the same time.
Aug 02, 2010 rated it did not like it
A collection of humorous short stories that focus on the follies of politics and religion. Though sadly, I didn't find this book very funny. At least, I didn't find myself holding my stomach in laughter. I would laugh nervously when I was confused by the violence and infidelity of the characters. I think these situations would make me laugh genuinely in different circumstances, such as in a better narrated story. In the end I just felt confused, wondering if I missed something.
Olivia Holani
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A collection of short stories based on the Tikongs who are the inhabitants of the fictional island of Tiko. The stories consist of different characters with different personalities, and details their indifferent - or accepting - attitudes towards the development of their countries by the colonisers.

I like how Hau'ofa uses humour in his short stories to criticize many things - politics, traditional systems, the church, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it made me chuckle here and there.
Oct 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous piece. As Hau'ofa is a Tongan author, it is interesting and hysterical to be able to read into some of the storylines that he provides. Lots of social commentary on what is occuring in the Pacific, nonetheless, a good read for those who are unfamiliar with the politics as well.
Oct 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Anyone who has lived in or been to Tonga should read this. Oh so funny. I recognised myself in the 'volunteers with pushbikes' reference. Apparently this was banned in Tonga for a while because its criticisms were too thinly veiled.
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hilarious and fascinating. And for bonus points, there's a reference to hashing:

"'Get off the bloody road, you stupid oaf!' Toki roared as he zoomed down the dusty highway past a wobbly Hash House Harrier."
Devan Musser
Mar 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a GREAT collection of short stories surrounding a fitctional south pacific island nation of the Tikongs and how they deal with DEVELOPMENT and western influence. It's satirical but very pertinent to post colonial literature.
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I recommend this book to a lot of my friends. Every single page of this book will make you gooooooooooo lololololololololololololololol further this book succeeds immensely in being so political, with every fiber of its being, yet being completely tongue-in-cheek at all times. Really a marvel.
S. J.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
A hilarious collection of short stories, full of incisive social commentary. Not only a delight to read but will also make you think long and hard about the pitfalls of colonialism and the effects thereof.
Soso Leo
Oct 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: already-read
Short stories that are loosely related and humorous. It describes the somewhat fictional lives of the average Pacific Islander and how they deal with development. Good read!
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a fun little set of short stories about life in the South Pacific as the native islanders deal with the forces of development. Witty, quick read.
Tim Prasil
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Funny and quirky stories about a fictional island nation in the Pacific. Hau'ofa deals with former colonists and indigenous people with humor and satire for all.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
It's empowering to have read an author who reflects your cultural identity through his work..Tikongs really struck home for me...RIP 'Epeli Hau'ofa
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reminds me s little of Kipling.
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
For anyone who wants to understand the humour of Oceania (probably more Polynesia) and the fine line between what is funny and what is terrible in this world.
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The Armchair Trav...: * Tales of the Tikongs * discussion 3 6 Oct 14, 2015 06:51PM  

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Hauʻofa was born of Tongan missionary parents working in Papua New Guinea. At his death, he was a citizen of Fiji, living in Suva. He attended school in Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Fiji (Lelean Memorial School), and later attended the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales; McGill University, Montreal; and the Australian National University, Canberra, where he gained a Ph.D. in soci ...more
“The Tikong... tends to walk short even though he may be tall. ... He normally lives too long on account of his love for energy conservation, which he achieves with enviable success simply by doing as little as possible or by doing nothing at all if he can. He does not have to police human rights, even in his own village, since he’s never heard of such things. Moreover, he has no global responsibility, for he is a citizen of a tiny country, so small that mankind is advised not to look for it on a classroom globe for it will only search in vain.” 0 likes
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