As the world turns.

By Gaafar Uherbelau —-

While growing up I don’t ever recall having read about or even hearing it from elders the concept of “Palauan Time” – this habit that we’ve adapted as a “culture” of being late for everything and accepting it because it’s socially expected. Similarly, I don’t ever recall a time when my parents or grandparents allowed me to curse in the house or in public as if it were perfectly normal.

I also don’t remember a time when it was okay for a Palauan man to attend and be drunk at an omengat or be called a man even if he didn’t fulfill his family and community obligations. I also don’t remember it being satisfactory for a student to achieve the bare minimum in school without trying their best or put in the extra effort.

Times have changed. And in my opinion, no matter how hard we try to cling to what we know of in the past we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment when things change even more. It seems nowadays that the Palauan philosophy is being replaced by something more individually focused and freedom-of-choice, freedom-of-speech, and freedom-of-everything oriented. We hear it all the time that we are losing our culture and many of our traditions. However, I believe that Palauan values and principles could still be retained and practiced if we ensure that our children embrace them. Our only challenge is to effectively instill these values and principles through more modern and alternate means.

For example, to me it is no longer effective to force a child to eat fish and taro if they do not want to. Just because they don’t like fish and taro doesn’t make them less Palauan. It just means that there are more choices out there for them in today’s world but it is still OUR responsibility as parents to make sure to find other food that they do like that has the same or even better nutritional value.

You may not have success in teaching a Palauan teenager the value of responsibility by forcing them to do household chores, but you could do so by teaching them how to budget their allowance or assigning them responsibilities such as creating the week’s menu or collect bills from the post office and remind you when they’re due.

Change is inevitable. And although many perceive this as a negative thing, it isn’t entirely bad because it encourages us to adapt and to look at things through a different lens. It also challenges us to ensure that whatever culture or lifestyle we create in the future still retains the values and principles that have always defined the Palauan way. Becherei a beluulechad me lobult. Bai ngi di lak de beceherei me lobult a Belau.

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2 Comments to “As the world turns.”

  1. Reblogged this on BELAU ONE and commented:
    such a beautiful piece of work…

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