Palau Divided Against Itself

By Santy Asanuma —-

It is either you have read it from Jesus or good old Abe or both. But let us not be too quick to look for outside phrases to chastise (oungeroel malechub ke de mengelebus) ourselves for our social failures or problems on the rise in our society today. I have not met one Palauan person that has not voiced out hardship in dealing with our cultural customary practices which are big part of being Palauan. This is a societal problem that is increasing in both size and frequency as there are at least two or more funerals every weekend without fail.

The obvious result is taking toil (merengelang) on most households’ financial security because most people today are in debt due to unplanned and frequent custom spending. As prices of goods and services keep rising, most people do not have enough disposable income so they either borrow money from relatives, friends, small money lenders, or even make out bank loans to meet these customary obligations. In this way, many people cannot catch up with their loan payments continuously on top of their daily living expenses.

Do not get me wrong. I will be the first one to defend our cultural customs and that we shall maintain them as critical and integral part of our identity. But it is high time that we crack (misosii) this problem because it is a definite source of frustrations and cause of other problems that make families continuously struggle to survive. As much as we hate to admit, money, specifically lack of it, has also caused number of families to break apart. Or because of lack of money, many parents seem to neglect their familial needs especially those for young children while they feel compelled to put the little money that they have into customs.

Since money will always be a problem for most people and customs will likely be with us into the distant future, the one thing we can do is to make laws (social policies) to put some sense into it. Most people that I have talked with strongly oppose this idea saying that government should not regulate our customs. But this is obviously getting out of hand and needs to be put under control. The OlbiilEr a Kelulau should seriously look into making laws not to change the traditional principles in our customary practices but to provide some kind of relief.

During Japanese administration, controlling laws were introduced by Ibedul and Reklai like ocheraol was limited to maximum of thirty yen. There were host of social policies that were introduced by both paramount chiefs and were adopted by the Japanese Government. The idea that our government only regulates some aspects of our life but should not touch our traditional customs today is basically dividing Palau into two separate worlds. Either we take one and abandon the other. But the better option is to mix the two and get the best of two worlds. Now that we are masters over our government and can dictate our own laws we are in position to do so.

For a “house divided against itself cannot stand” to survive let alone for the people to find harmony in their lives. “I do not expect the house to fall-but I expect it to cease to be divided,” said President Lincoln. But this famous quote is no different than our own age old Palauan adage “a leru bekeled e ng mekngit e a le ta bekeled e ke de kollii” (if we have two sails it is ominous but one it will glide at top speed).


3 Comments to “Palau Divided Against Itself”

  1. Santy, well put! The House Divided Speech was an address given by Abraham Lincoln on June 17, 1858, (before his election as the nation’s first Republican president in 1860) at what was then the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, upon accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination as that state’s United States senator. The speech became the launching point for his unsuccessful campaign for the Senate seat held by Stephen A. Douglas; this campaign would climax with the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.

    Mr. Lincoln’s remarks in Springfield created an image of the danger of slavery-based disunion, and it rallied Republicans across the North. Along with the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address, this became one of the best-known speeches of his career.

    The best-known passage of the speech is:

    A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

    Lincoln’s goals with this speech were, firstly, to differentiate himself from Douglas, the incumbent; and secondly, to publicly voice a prophecy for the future. Douglas had long advocated popular sovereignty, under which the settlers in each new territory decided their own status as a slave or free state; he had repeatedly asserted that the proper application of popular sovereignty would end slavery-induced conflict, and would allow northern and southern states to resume their peaceful coexistence. Lincoln, however, responded that the Dred Scott decision had closed the door on Douglas’s preferred option and left the Union with only two remaining outcomes: the United States would inevitably become either all slave, or all free. Now that the North and the South had come to hold distinct opinions in the question of slavery, and now that this issue had come to permeate every other political question, the time would soon come when the Union would no longer be able to function.

    Many nations recognized this as the way to go and it caused a wave of freedom/equality minded rulers to follow suit.

  2. Mr. Bacon, are you the registered author of the same subject matter on Wikipedia or was it simply that most of what was written above is the same as can be found at that online source verbatim (word for word)?

  3. I quoted much of the article found on's_House_Divided_Speech to support my comment and show the difference between the root of Santy’s article and the root of Lincoln’s speech that he refered to. I could have posted the's_House_Divided_Speech in its entirety and confuse the issue or find the same info from other sources beside wikipedia. Thanks for your site.

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