Fiticoco (Defy Logic)

By Santy Asanuma –

There is no Palauan word at least in our present knowledge that quite describes the irrational behavior that is increasing in community. Maybe Chuuk has such a word because they had been there ahead of us as we are fond in pointing finger at their social disorders (a ikel uchul e ng cherrad a beluu). And above all, these social disorders do not make any sense because they are the results when we come together.

And this is not to be confused or blamed on the fact that we are not well informed. Palau is perhaps with the most highly educated people among Micronesians (Marshallese, Pohnpians, Kosraeians, Chuukese, and Yapese) initially that is why the headquarters for the T.T. Government in Saipan was dominated by Palauans. This was a big part of the Palauan pride. Though they are fewer in number among Micronesians, Palauans consciously (kmal mle blak a rengud) competed to be the first in everything and being ahead of the pack. And being informed or educated is definitely one of those areas within the pursuit of Palauan pride.

As testament to this pursuit, we have made strides (meklou bakes) not only once but twice in the international forum with Micronesia Challenge and the Shark Sanctuary to the awe and admiration of the nations of the world during UN Assemblies. These are current living proofs that we are naturally smart people given the chance to come together with the people of the world.

But turn the lens microcosmically (ke do mes a ikel mekekereie) and inwardly on how social strands (a ikel seng ra klechad er kid) in Palauan life run, connect, or get entangled (mechiseksikd), one can only wonder if Palauans will ever get smart to deal with social problems that are increasingly mounting against us at an alarming rate.

With only few exceptions like the latest funeral in Ngeremlengui, Palauans continuously produce rotund and excessive (oudingeronger) food serving in expression of their love and care for their deceased loved ones. During the last few weeks funerals and cheldecheduch, the Z-66 has been resurrected and is now being served as individual serving size. This is in clear contradiction to over 15 years of conference for Mechesil Belau to bring some sense to food proportions in our customary functions, especially funerals. Not to mention that Palau is number eight on the world fat list.

And those who are responsible for the decision and production of these rotund and excessive food servings are women, sisters, aunties, and mothers in a country where doctors and health officials have recently declared a national emergency on non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemic (mla oberk) of diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cancer, and injuries due to alcohol or accident or combination of both. Furthermore, the local pork filled with lard and oil at funerals is the angel of death.

Last week virtually almost all the doctors of the land declared a “social terrorism” because of people being injured or killed due to excessive use of alcohol especially among the youth including pre-teens (9 to 12 years old). And they called the first two weeks of July as the darkest weeks in our history. Yet the lawmakers of this country have allowed bars to open up to 2am during weekends and holidays.

And we wonder why people are dying left and right as if there are mysterious angels of death. Now that is fiticoco. Thanks to Chuuk for providing the word to describe our social affairs.


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