What makes you a Palauan?

By Kambes Kesolei

What makes you a Palauan? This is an age old question that without a doubt been asked gazillion times in various social settings. And I’m sure you’ve heard the same question many times over as well, and perhaps already have had your turn to proffer an answer yourself. It is a question that stimulates your mind and challenges you on the conceptual side. It doesn’t have a ready made or any one satisfactory answer that defines being a Palauan ­- at least to me.

A discussion that still reverberates in my mind after many years, is one I had with a first-rate local intellectual who expounded on the definition of “Palauan” with two intangibles: Palau-ness and Palau-ism or rather Kle-Belau and Klechi-Belau. Wow! I get confused just mentioning the two – the “ness” and the “ism”.

So avoiding going beyond five hundred words for this article, I thought I will try to answer the question based on today’s Palauan society:

If you’re Palauan…

  • You’re familiar with many American TV personalities, movie stars, you can sing the very latest in the American music, and hum the ESPN’s sports center’s theme music – na na na, na na na, na na na!
  • You know someone who is addicted to Arirang.
  • You get your world news from FOX and CNN, and to appear to be more cosmopolitan watch BBC, Al Jazeera, and Russian Television.
  • You spend around $1,000 a year just so you can maintain your freedom of chewing cigarette.
  • You know a lot about American sports, MLB, NBA, NFL, but you know nothing about popular sports played around the world, as in soccer, rugby, and cricket. You also don’t know how many baseball teams are playing in the Palau Major League this season.
  • You spend your paid annual leave hours on Mondays.
  • You’ve just split your paycheck for funeral, firstborn ceremony, and house party, only to be repeated next payday.
  • The chances are that you are obese, or else Palau would not be the 8th obese country in the world.
  • You and your wife have cellular phones.
  • You and your wife and your kids each have separate Facebook accounts.
  • You own a four-cylinder used Japanese car with tens of thousands of miles on them.
  • You’re the bottom 69 percent. Earning $8,000 or less.
  • You feel that your elected members are over-paid and your state legislators serves no purposes.
  • You can speak English fluently but having trouble with your native tongue.
  • You are in tune with budget jargon – CDI, CD2, PD1, ne proi, ne proi!
  • You still measure things in ounces, pounds, feet, and miles. You have trouble doing temperature conversion from Celsius to Farenheit.
  • You watch Street Lawyer and listen to Ngerngellecheluu.
  • The biggest meal of the day is of course, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • When Palauan Time is never being sorry to be late
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