Ebrai (I See)

By Santy Asanuma

I was fortunate to run into a retired minister who was kind enough to remind me of this lost expression in our language today. This means you understand or you have stumbled onto a discovery or you see the object of attention that is not easily seen. Ebrai sekid or ebrai ng ua isei (yes I see it or now I understand).

My wife of twenty five years, if you count on when we first met and not when the first baby arrived (this is trivial personal information but adds a bit of insight), asked me in a questioning and frustrating tone why I have to pay much attention and spend endless hours discussing the national problems for Palau. We have problems of our own and she feels my time is better utilized if I looked after our own problems.

This attitude is quite widespread in the community. My beautiful wife is not alone and I do understand her frustration with me. Let the political leaders and government employees deal with the problems because they are paid to do the job is the typical sentiment from most people.

This is where I want to convince my wife among most people that she/they are wrong to leave our civil (kirel a beluu ma rechad) affairs to government people to think about and do or not do anything with them. This attitude is called apolitical (yes senator this is a word and you can check it in your dictionary). It means having no political interests. So stop making the people not look into what you are doing or not with our civil affairs. This is what happens when people let political leaders be.

The seventh regular session began on July 13, 2010 with only two bills on agenda for the first day for the Senate. And here is the catch. They differed these two bills to next day session. Okay they were busy with ceremony as is the customary for the first day of regular sessions. The next day they had the exact two bills. So for two months after the sixth regular session the senators were not working on any bills or reports on bills.

The other day as I got on my car the radio said, “Speaker we are on Item 16.” I automatically looked at my watch because that means the session is ending at 10:30 am. Sessions normally begin at 10 am so that means the session lasted in only 30 minutes. What is this? I thought to myself in disbelief. Later I found out that they had one bill on first reading and one resolution on their agenda but deferred it for lacking substance. What a joke!

My wife like most people believes that Palau has too many laws already therefore senator and delegates do not have to make any more laws. But on the contrary most of our laws need to be revised or new laws are needed as new problems are being introduced. We need better laws.

Constitution Article IX Section 5 number 20 of their responsibilities is: “to provide for the welfare” of the people. Are they doing it? Besides they are getting paid $1,923.08 every two weeks. And their time cards are showing 80 every pay period whether they worked the hours or not. Ebrai! These people are not doing much!

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