Messages of hope
From the Uto ni Yalo, your unofficial flagship, as it embarks on the next leg of this incredible journey that started in 2010 and will end [or will it?] after we return home from the Solomon Islands via New Caledonia and Rotuma (still to confirm) in August.
While it will be signifcant to ask what we have learned along the way, the focus should be on what messages of hope can we share with others. We have been mandated to act as missionaries for the environment and its inhabitants. Our personal stories of clean sailing with wind and solar power need to become public domain.
Have you ever heard anyone say “oh he’s a professional”? What about “I’m only an amateur when it concerns…….”? Are these two words antonyms [words with opposite meanings]? Let’s look a little closer at their etymology and how they were derived before relating the topic to our drua.
“Pro”>profess>professor>profession>professional. “Ama”> amateur>amateurish>amateurism. Does that set of sequences tell us anything? What came to your mind when you read them? Was it pro versus con – for versus against something? So if you profess something does that mean that you advocate it? Are you speaking for something that due to your academic and experiential background you are very familiar with within a given area? If that is correct, then a professor is someone who professes! Duh! Hold on do you require an advanced degree then to be a “professor” or can anyone with an expertise in an area qualify? Ah you say but what about Professor with a capital “P”? Perhaps the capital “P” distinguishes that learned academic with ample knowledge from the lower case “p” person who simply advocates for something? Interesting? Perhaps not, but read on anyway!
Many in the oldest of living generations might well have been exposed to Latin as the “mother” of all “Romance” languages. At the time students, more often than not, were burdened by having to learn Latin declensions. However as they grew older and needed to accurately communicate many valued knowing Latin derivations. “Ama” – dealing with love. Could it possibly be that amateurs are people who are involved in an activity for the simple reason that they are very fond of it? Can an amateur profess? Can professors be amateurs in their field of study? A riddle? Perhaps.
What seems to have evolved from that mixed bag of words is a more modern set of definitions. Professionals are people with particular skills and knowledge who get rewarded/paid for their efforts while amateurs appear to be considered novices or tyros in their passtime. We hear of the “professional” approach to things. That seems to be a system that has been developed that has at its core an organised and possibly an ethical [following rules and guidelines] way of doing things. Now comes the fun because are amateurs people who don ‘t?
Let’s start with something personal. I have written over 100 articles and blogs since January 23 of this year. I “love” writing them and consider it an honour and a privilege to have been asked to do so. I follow a self-imposed code of writing. I will always keep a positive approach to the themes. I will not wash dirty linen in public assuming there is any to air! I will speak for marine creatures, the environment and alternative sources of energy. I maintain a basic structure, but have had no formal training in journalism [isn’t it obvious?]. So would I be classified as an amateur or professional by the above crtiteria? Definitely an amateur!
Skipper is an experienced captain with all appropriate certificates. No question he’s a professional in maritime areas. Seta, our navigator, has not gone to school to learn traditional navigation, but had has several experienced and qualified mentors. He does not get paid for being a navigator. Is he a professional?
The Interntional Olympic Movement has changed its definition of amateurism as so many modern athletes had professional coaches and earned money from participating in their sport. So today multimillionaire professional basketball players can represent their country at the Olympics while a few years back it would never have been possible. However amateur boxers still enjoy representing their country. In golf and tennis the amateurs most often are not as competitive at the highest level as professionals.
Chariots of Fire was an interesting and entertaining movie that explored this topic from the perspective of two different sprinters on the British Olympic team. One employed a coach and the other due to religious commitments would not run on Sundays. Both men, in their own way, made a stand based on their beliefs. Both ended up running and thus their positions helped influence the development of thought concerning amateurism in the Olympic movement.
The majority of our crew are volunteers either choosing this instead of employment or are retired. Does that make them amateurs even though they have evolved into experienced sailors? This is a question that can probably only be answered by convention. What is currently being “accepted” by the majority? If that is the case, then a professional might possess the following characteristics:
Knowledgable or highly skilled or both in a special field; previous training//education required; takes a systematic approach to things associated with the special field; adheres to prescribed rules, guidelines and in some cases ethical behaviour. requires remuneration for his participation.
Whereas the amateur may possess the following attributes:
an abiding “love” for the subject or activity; displays a unique passion; undertakes the activity with no intent to being paid; is proficient, but not necessarily an expert in the field.
Which one best describes the Pacific Voyager? You’ll see for yourself when the Uto ni Yalo; MaruMaru Atua [Cooks]; Hine Moana [mixed crew]; Faafaite [Tahiti]; Gaualofa [Samoa]; Tematau a Maui and Haunui [New Zealand] sail onward for traditional homecoming welcomes.
Until then – tabu soro Viti kei Rotuma.