Mongedall E moluu (To The Left To The Right)

By Santy Asanuma

Whose right is the real right? If two people who are right handed and left handed receive a command to paddle to the right, you are in trouble. Palauan wisdom took care of this possible confusion from creating a problem that could lead to loss of a fish or run into enemies’ spears. Culturally, instruction and direction were vital for our ancestors as it could mean starvation or immediate death.

Mongedall means you paddle on the side of a canoe away from the outrigger and moluu means that you paddle on the side of the canoe towards the outrigger. When the oked (commander) call out for a particular action, the paddlers in unison (ta omeruul) will go at it without hesitation. Incidentally, mluu (conceding to order and harmony) comes from this Palauan concept of action.

For the longest time in recent memory there was no clear union of both the paramount chiefs even though they were not necessarily opposing each other. At least there was no clear instruction from our leaders until the Sixth Micro-Games where Ibedul and Reklai appeared on TV standing side by side in what I think is the most symbolic and ultimate in Palauan message for togetherness and joining of force. Beta el ianged ma beta el ianged (joining of the two celestial kingdoms north and south of Palau).

“Tia de prerrii!” was as clear a command and there was no two ways about it. That is all it took for the Palauan athletes to pull in all efforts in their muscles and bones to have performed in such stellar (te ngilai mo ra chelianged) fashion. A kingdom united undoubtedly contributes greatly to the mind and the ultimate performance of its people.

Prerrii for the record is not associated with the spear (broel). I too was only corrected by the highest authority in Palauan that I cannot refute culturally. I was told that it refers to the act of doing (aikel doruul malechub e ng relled), and more importantly, that it must be achieved without fail. This expression was the late President Etpison’s slogan.

This administration has declared a policy to reduce the behemoth government that previous administrations only made rhetorical statements (te di milekoi e diak ra reng) but did nothing. The size of our government has become the beast of burden and must be dealt with decisively. All expert studies and reports that have been done on Palau point out that we cannot afford to keep let alone feed this monster.

I would like to challenge all the sane and smart Palauans to step forward and support this administration to take the courageous act in reducing the size of our government as a way to help our economy. The government cannot continue to be the biggest employer in this economy as experts have warned against even when we had the initial influx of COFA money.

This can only be achieved with openness and in collective fashion where all stakeholders come to the table and support the idea without fear of political repercussions of accusations and backstabbing. The right command must be called out now and we the people must act in unison so that we can achieve…”tia de prerrii!”

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