Ongesang Ra Belau (Kick Palauans Out)

By Santy Asanuma —-

“The Palauans are not qualified or good enough to do work for our tourism industry” as both Palauans and non-Palauans openly insist to justify bringing in more foreigners to do various jobs in the industry including boat and bus operators. This social injustice (chilbirukel el tekoi) reminds me of a book that I read as a young school boy titled The Last of Mohicans. I have never felt so moved by someone else’s struggle to seek his right to life and dignity; and therefore, compelled to fight against all odds to reclaim his place in his own land. Alas, the last warrior for the Mohicans died.

As tourism industry has become the “fish and taro” or the bread and butter for Palau, businesses are beginning to intently chase out Palauans in the service industry. The tourism industry outright write off Palauans as not fit in quality service that visitors all around the come to look for in Palau. Tour operators/companies cite Palauans as being lazy, not on time, not committed to work due to endless customary obligations, do not have the skills, not groomed enough or unclean because of chewing betel nuts. These are just some of the common faults now used to discredit Palauans.

Who will fight for Palauans’ rights and interests in their own island? Though there is no war in Palau, Palauans much like the Mohicans of 1757 are being pushed off their land simply through articulation (omsodel) of how business should run. But this is exactly what should be called prejudice (a generalized statement that is very disfavorable “mekngit” toward a certain group of people). Worse is to stereotype that all Palauans are that way. And to take action to not hire Palauans is what should be called discrimination (to deny equal treatment to a certain group of people). Now I know how the Mohicans must have felt and why they had to fight so fiercely for their life.

The audacity (ng meral diak a techel a rengrir) to even make such unjust statements against Palauans in the halls of OEK Congress for the Palauan people is preposterous (klebelung el tekoi) and direct attack on Palauans as people. Such foreigners, who boldly condemn Palauans as unemployable, should not be tolerated in our land. Even Palauans, who are agents of foreign companies and have joined the foreigners in condemning Palauans, should call for strongest possible rebuttal (ultekngel a tekoi) from all sane Palauans. Now I know why Africans were relentless in fighting against the practice of apartheid (separate the blacks) because of the same sentiments that these racist foreigners and few Palauans are saying against the Palauan people today.

This is bigotry (chetil a re ngodech el chad) that is being allowed in Palau. And the victims are the people of the land because of few Palauans and foreign proponents of business establishments. I would do injustice by not mentioning Palau Pacific Resort as an exception which should be commended for its pro-Palauan hiring policy. As a matter of fact, PPR is probably the most profitable five star hotel in Palau. This proves that this anti-Palauan stereotype is nonsense after all and should be declared a crime against the Palauan people.


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