Baiderengul (Lucky You)

By Santy Asanuma —-

(rerun 2/5/2003 Whatanow Column)

Alii Lorna,

There is a story that is becoming popular in Palau lately to make fun of the situation that is happening almost everywhere in this country. A child watched her mother break a dish while washing dishes and wished out loud by saying, “baiderengum e mommy le ng diak a oklau” (lucky you mom for not getting any scolding from anybody). The child represents the common people (“a re mechebuul”) and the mother represents the few powerful people (“a re ngarebad el chad”) in Palau today.

The child knows very well that for every wrong move that he makes there is going to be some painful consequences (“meringel el elebed”) coming to him. And he knows too well that he has no chance whatsoever so he better watch out. This had become hard for the child to live with so he is now wishing if he could be in mommy’s place and enjoy such immunity (“ng diak el retachel”) from the law. And this is not for good reasons. The child now desires to be like mommy who can do bad things and get away without any punishment.

I suppose many of the little guys (“a re ngariou el chad”) working for the government can relate to (“te kmal medengelii”) this story. There are quite a few lowly government employees who were either fired or put in jail because of being accused for petty thefts (“mekekeriei el omerechorch”). The issue here is not to make excuses for stealing. After all, stealing a spare tire, rope, tools, office supplies, toilet papers, food, computer, gasoline, oil, gasoline tanks, building materials, and so on from the government is stealing and should be dealt with accordingly (“kirel mo taut ra ikel ngarengii llach”). Though I feel sorry for them knowing they probably did it because of low salaries, they still have to answer to the laws of Palau but how about the high paid government officials? What is their excuse?

Before you know it the poor people of Palau will start feeling sorry for public officials because they are victims (“te mla metemall”) of the fact there is no laws governing how government officials should spend public funds. At least that is their explanation: no law controlling them on how to spend public money. Yeah sure. We really should blame taxi drivers, fishermen, construction workers, store clerks, farmers, office workers, doctors, nurses, mechanics, students, teachers, housewives, cooks, waitresses, senior citizens, bento makers, and just about the general public for these laws not being made, especially to control public officials from spend public money like it was their personal spending money.

A leader in nature should possess higher virtues (“ngolab a ngarebab el lluchul a klechad”) than common people. Because of this, people assume (“kedomdasu”) and come to expect that their leaders are doing the right thing all the time. This is a given trust by the people that should be protected by leaders themselves. Therefore, leaders should not only follow the law but also always make great effort to avoid (“mengeroid e rengii”) the appearance of impropriety (“mekngit ra ues”). This noble attitude (“kuoll el teletael”) for leaders in Palau seems to have been replaced by the attitude of I will do with what I please (“a ti ngara ikel souak”) until I am proven guilty. No wonder, many of us envy (“kede  uram er tir”) public officials not for good reasons but because they live in immunity from the law which seems to be godly (“te kora chelid”) and attractive way of life.

Did anybody say sole judge? Most Palauans today believe that sole judge is only to stop candidate(s) from getting into OEK. As a matter of fact, soles judge should also look at the members already inside OEK if they have violated any laws of Palau. Remember they have the power to see who does not belong in the OEK or to expel (“odikii”) any member that has violated the laws of Palau. But for the longest time nobody has looked into their closets. It has always been good for them being in cahoots (“te tmak el ta rengrir ngara delengernger”) and spending public money like there is no tomorrow for the rest of us poor Palauans. “Baiderengul a sole judge le ng diak a oklii” (good for the sole judge because nobody will punish him”). I can see young Palauans saying to their mommies today that they want to grow up be sole judges.

Ng diak a chised!

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