Kalsindelmong Ma Kalsindelmei (Straddling the Fence)

By Santy Asanuma —-

We should get rid of our traditional leaders and our culture and be all modern, democratic, free, equal, economic, and be one happy society. “We should not allow traditions to hold us down and miss our chance in progress and development,” openly expressed in public discussion by more and more of younger generations of Palauans. This mentality implies (ua lolekoi) that money is enough to satisfy our needs and fulfill the purpose of our life as human beings.

Let us entertain this thinking and see where it leads us. Since the basis of moon on our flag is from our cultural inclination to the full moon as being conducive to the conduct of our lives, we should take it out and replace it with a more appropriate sign of dollar to show the central focus of the new Palauan way of life. From now on we should transact among ourselves purely on the basis of paying for everything we get including the brown coconuts lying on the ground. Money talks and bullshit walks attitude sort of society. And “ureor beluu” (community volunteer work) should be eliminated as no one gets paid for doing it. This would also do away with “omenges” (contribution) of foods to support community gatherings because these foods are free and for everyone. Catering service is more modern and better alternative.

Since good governance is well provided by elected leadership (lol) and that we do no need the traditional leaders to meddle with the affairs of Palauan people anymore, we should remove the bai as symbol of cultural and traditional community and replace it with YMCA/YWCA emblems to show that we are no longer bound to the past and that our society only focus on the modern and progressive things from here onward. We should remove “omengat” and replace it with the more modern baby showers for the liberal young women. Traditional rituals and materials are not only cumbersome (chetituokl) but also not cost effective. Efficiency rules and traditions out.

Since traditional society codes (lechul a siukang) are not as accurate as modern statutory codes ( lol), we must make laws to better direct and organize funerals (insert: this assumes that government is far more organized and efficient than cultural traditions.lol). There are far too many people attending funerals. Maybe a law should limit it up to third cousins allowed and cut out the cheldebechel (social organizations or clubs like Maibrel) from attending as they are required to be fed and given to-go food plus sengk (money) at the end of each funeral. Since there are no criteria for how much money should be raised in each custom, a ten percent tax should be levied on every ten thousand dollars. This money can be effectively used by government for the benefit of the people than kemeldiil (funeral) can ever achieve. Government is the more efficient way (lol).

Okay I am not going to take a chance for the educated and smart young Palauan generations now and in the future to interpret my intent as my literal skill may have failed my sincere attempt to make sense of the opening remark. I truly believe that as I peeled off every social layer of our cultural traditions to look for a clean cut and sensible Palau for younger generation, the more confusing it got. The way I see it…ke kadesindelmong ma kadesindelmei.

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