When ABC Is Not ABC

By Santy Asanuma

There are things in this life that cannot be fixed with money. True friendship has no price tag on it. Likewise independence cannot be bought with money because it is more a state of mind (maybe the soul of people) than anything else. Once money becomes basis of such things as friendship and independence suspicion will destroy the relationship of those involved. The saying, “the love of money is root of all evil” best describe this tragedy that has been depicted by poets and writers in countless stories.

The identity of a friend let alone where he stands next to us should not be questioned every time we get together. Knowing that someday that our friends would wonder how we value them I made an attempt to pass a law always putting U.S.A flag right next to Palau and Japan flag would follow to show our friendships are with long histories together between our peoples. The rest of the other countries have to be lined up in the order of ABC.

A Japanese friend of mine while watching the Parade of The Nations on the 16th Independence Day brought to my attention that the Japan flag was behind Taiwan’s flag. He asked me why but I could not offer a convincing explanation for “J” for Japan to be behind “T” for Taiwan. More importantly, I was embarrassed because Japan has been more than just a foreign aid donor but has been working alongside Palau as a partner for many years in developing Palau reach self-sufficiency (mo sebeched el di kid). If you are a Palauan you should know how much and what Japan has given to Palau all these years.

Maybe the Palauan people are not conscious of such little details but these are what make people make up their mind in a true friendship, especially the Japanese people. Today people of Saipan are trying to explain that because of economic reasons Japanese investors and developers have abandoned Saipan. But at a closer look the Japanese realized that they were not appreciated as partners or friends of Saipan. Of course, the Japanese people will not admit to this up front.

Friendship unlike diplomacy does not have any formal rules and procedures of engagement. Japan just quietly removed its investments one by one until one day Japan Airlines stopped flying to Saipan. Kaput no more friendship no more investments! They did not explain that it was because of slow economy or bad business. If it were the case how come the Koreans and Chinese investors and developers did not leave also?

So while we still have little friendship left with Japan let us invest on it by at least giving their proper place according to ABC. I am sure they can figure out ABC’s and when we are not taking them seriously. I can safely say that because of our friendship Japan has been second to US in helping Palau become independent. Nurturing (mengoias) our friendship with our closest allies might be best economically for us. Domo Arigato gu daimasu to the land of Arashi.

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