Palauan could get lost in the Shuffle

By Fuana Tmarsel —-

“Eight hours of work, eight hours of rest, eight hours of what we will. Eight hours of work, eight hours of rest, eight hours of what we will.” This was the motto for “eight-hour work day” movement chanted by American laborers in their demonstrations in 1880’s, to cut down working hours from 14 to 8. The Adamson Act eventually gained passage and now over a century later, practically everyone on this green earth has adapted it as regular hours for full-time work.

Then we have the 3-1-1 rule limits on liquid and gels for carry-on-luggage that need to be in transparent, plastic sealable container bags. But do you know why TSA implemented this rule. Well, sometime in August 2006, authorities in England arrested a group of people they suspected planned to blow up airplanes using sports drink and other chemicals to make an explosive cocktail. TSA implemented rule to secure safety for all travelers. But it makes you wonder about cocktails.

The Airlines also has a new trend –I particularly enjoy United flights to Micronesa. Instead of the usual:  Welcome on board flight —–. Our aircraft is under the command of Captain so and so and he has informed that our flying time will be approximately ___________………. The announcement is now said in the vernacular of the island from which the plane is taking off, or landing for that matter. If in Yap, you will hear that beautiful language, same as in Guam, Saipan, Philippines, etc. I am excited to hear the Palauan when it comes.

These trends are expected part of globalization. A generation ago actions of some wayward criminals in England would have not affected our shores but, with advancement of technology exchange, the world has become smaller. While that is good, there is also a downside. The mighty are gaining grounds while the weak are perishing. I am talking about language extinction. Unfortunately, for socio-economic reasons many parents are selecting English as first language of their children because it is the lingua franca of the workplace. Similarly, it is dominant languages such as English, that is often the language of instruction.But what is regrettable is that though we have the power to protect our language, we are contributing to its demise – the Palauan language extinction.

However, we must remember that the heart of the culture is in the language and teaching our young people to be fluent in our language is important. I do believe that there is a certain connection that is lost when a person is unable to speak the language of his/her own people. Because a language is intertwined with culture and identity, a young person who is unable to speak his or his parents’ mother tongue loses a sense of grounding and belonging to that particular culture. And maybe even a hostile approach to it, knowing instinctively that he is/should be part of it, yet feeling the apparent distant from it. I’ve always wonder about Hitler and his supposed Jewish bloodline.

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