Free for educational use
Song for the King -- Vika and Linda Bull interview
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 2min 51sec
Tags - civics and citizenship, culture, globalisation, identity, multiculturalism, oral history, Pacific region, Tonga, see all tags
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About the Video Cliptop
This interview with Vika and Linda Bull was recorded for the Pacific Stories website produced in 2005. Vika and Linda Bull are Melbourne-based singing siblings and are two of Australia’s most popular performers. Their mother is Tongan and father Australian. Linda and Vika explore the rich diversity of their Tongan cultural heritage through their songs and creative life.
Pacific Stories is a co-production between Film Australia’s National Interest Program and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Presented by Vika and Linda Bull, the project explores the geography, history and culture of the South Pacific.
Students have the opportunity to identify values that support social cohesion and consider ways in which this can be undermined or strengthened by individual and collective action.
Students examine the ways in which Australians are connected to other people around the world and explore the responsibilities of global citizenship.
Students have the opportunity to consider the economic, social and cultural connections of Australian people to other people in the Asia-Pacific region.
Students explore how media and information and communication technologies are used to present issues and influence opinion.
The independent Kingdom of Tonga is the only monarchy among the Pacific nations.
King Taufa’ahau Tupou 1V, inherited the throne from his mother Queen Salote Tupou 111 in 1965. King Taufa’ahau Tupou was much revered by his subjects and under his rule people enjoyed stability and prosperity. Despite his popularity, there was, during the latter part of his reign, some questioning of this system of government, where power and privilege are inherited. A pro-democracy movement argued that as Tonga modernised and changed, so too should the form of government include more participation in decision-making by all of its citizens.
Modernisation and change in Tonga has also included Tongans migrating in large numbers seeking work and better wages. The number of Tongans living outside Tonga (particularly in Australia and New Zealand) is now larger than the population at home – 110,000 Tongans are spread across three dozen inhabited islands and even more live abroad, mainly in the US, New Zealand and Australia. The main source of national revenue in Tonga today is in the remittances sent home by Tongans residing overseas. To what extent this continues in the future will depend on the younger generation many of whom now have stronger cultural influences from their adopted countries. These people with Tongan heritage may not be treated as ‘true Tongans’ when they visit Tonga — due to language inadequacies or cultural differences.
This video clip features popular singers Linda and Vika Bull. Their mother was one of the first Tongans to travel to Australia. Initially she moved to study nursing with the aim of returning to Tonga; however she married and remained in Australia. Linda and Vika, tell how in 1994 they were invited to perform for King Taufa’ahau Tupou 1V’s 75th birthday celebrations. They speak about identity, language and music and the importance to them of their heritage and connection to Tonga.
King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV died on 10 September 2006. His 41-year reign made him one of the world’s longest-serving sovereigns. He was succeeded by his eldest son King George Tupou V.
- Investigate the website for Linda and Vika Bull and try to get a copy of one of their CDs. Copy out the words of some of their songs that appear to be talking about their sense of identity. What appear to be the beliefs and values they sing about?
- Linda and Vika Bull use music to record some aspects of their Tongan culture. How can music contribute to the preserving of oral traditions and the presenting of sometimes controversial issues. Discuss in class the effectiveness of recording past events via music as away of influencing citizens’ views. Try to find other music examples of this approach.
- Using the video clip, what issues did Vika and Linda face when they visted Tonga? Do you think a wish to return for a visit to their original homeland is a common experience of many immigrants to Australia? Does this suggest that some migrants cannot decide if they want to be an Australian citizen? Is it possible to be Tongan/Australians? Or can you only be just one? How can ‘Australian identity’ be defined while at the same time recognising the the diversity of cultural values of different groups of people?
- In small groups, ask students to investigate the economoc, social and cultural connections of Australian people to another chosen people in the Asia-Pacific region. Ask the groups to consider an action plan about how principles of friendship, peace, social justice and mutual respect might be developed between the people of their chosen case study country and Australian people. Give the students an opportunity to present their findings to the whole class.