Archive for October, 2013

October 18, 2013

Omelouch (Giving best bites to children)

By Santy Asanuma —-

Who makes a nation? Is it the government or the people? Some of the children, who were born up to the 1980’s, might have been fed as babies through the cultural practice of “omelouch.” Usually parents or grandparents of a child would chew food in their mouth to soften and make it suitable for the baby to eat during every meal time. Before you go into convulsion out of disgust be reminded that presidents, vice-presidents, senators, delegates, doctors, lawyers, principals/teachers, judges, chiefs, business owners, and most of our high and mighty citizens today were fed through this practice.

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October 18, 2013

“Not in OrderS”

 

Words from Orakidorm

By Stevenson Kuartei 

Traveling to American Samoa to assist the Director of Health, I have had to stay in hotels. One day I went to the restroom and there was a sign in the toilet, which said, “Not in Orders”. Of course, I am not a primary an English speaker and so I am not in a position to criticize. But normally the sign for non-functioning toilet is usually written, “Not in Order”. Just a change of one letter and my impression changed. “Not in Orders” with an “s” seems to allude to not one, but many “not in order” in the future.

While I am contemplating on this issue of “Not in Orders”, the news about United States Government shutdown and hitting the Fiscal Cliff is constantly being discussed on news outlets and the impact this will have on the world economy. Even the American Samoan Government has designed a 3-month roll out plan on releasing government workers in case their budget doesn’t come in on time. It is painful to sit with the Director of Health and have him explain who are the people in the Department of Health that will be released. Even if there is an agreement between the US President and Congress, it will be a short-term band-aid solution. Now, the United States is the most sophisticated country in the world in terms of governance structure and the world’s leading economy. If they were to close the government for long and if they were to default on their loan, the affect on the world economy will be devastating according to the leading world economists.

In Palau, the recent budget is probably the highest budget we have seen in our brief history as a nation. We know that at best our local revenue is worth less than $40M US and so we are increasing taxes to make up the difference. But these taxes are levied against an overall economy that is supported by financial aid from overseas. So how’s that work? Are the overseas financial aids that we receive independent of this “Not in Orders” that we see taking place in the most sophisticated countries in the world including the United States? My unsophisticated mind is now really confused. I am confused when austerity measures are hitting various governments of the world (EU), Jasmine Revolution is hitting others (Arab League) due to inequality of access to benefits of governance and “Not in Orders” hitting 1st World Countries most of whom give us the foreign aids, yet we are increasing our annual budget. Really? How does that work?

Perhaps the “Not in Orders” was just a typo. You think so? I think it was deliberate by the hotel housekeeping staff because they were instructed by their manager who had been ordered to do so by the Corporate Office in the Mainland, US. You see this is just a toilet economics. If you do not use the toilet, you save money from the water used for flushing, you save money from the soap used for washing, save money from the paper towel used for drying your hands and from the floor mopping for the “off target” stuff. I think I like this “Not in Orders” typo. In light of what is happening globally and in our donor countries, may be “Not in Orders” in our budget process could end up being a live saver. Let’s just pretend it was typo. What do you think? I say we put a big sign up, “NOT IN ORDERS”.

October 17, 2013

Keng keng

By Gaafar U. Uherbelau —-

One step forward, two steps back. This is exactly how I see things beginning to look in our nation. Whenever it seems that we’re making progress, climbing up a level, somehow we trip and fall back down and sometimes we even land farther than we were when we started climbing. And the irony of it all is that we are the ones tripping ourselves.

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October 17, 2013

The Immigrants

By Fuana Tmarsel —-

I was trying to explain to my friends the matrilineal system of Palau and how it is an essential part of one’s identity and therefore, one’s place of belonging. I began, “in Palau mothers are highly esteemed and therefore, one has to be careful when making references to another’s mother. In fact, I continued, the phrase “your mother” can be a curse word depending on the context wherein which it is used. Though times have change and young people have made the word common, like hello and good bye, as is the use of other curse words, one still has to refrain from using the word because mothers are important part of one’s sense of belongingness in Palauan culture.”

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October 15, 2013

Shutdown Meltdown Showdown

By Jackson M. Henry

Politics revealed its ugly twin brother last week in Washington, DC in a form of a government shutdown. Its whiplash sent tremors to world stock markets and rattled people’s nerves worldwide. Even distant island communities like Guam, CNMI and Palau which depends on US Government programs, will not be spared by the wrath of this latest US political grand standing. Everyone is bamboozled just how those Washington follies can be so damn irresponsible.

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October 15, 2013

The modern Era of Nomadic Palauans- “Delidai Era”

Words from Orakidorm

By Stevenson Kuartei 

Palauan history includes two distinct eras; Uab Era, which depicts the formation of the island itself and Milad Era that tells of the formation of the Palauan society and its social structures (Aimeliik, Koror, Ngaremlengui and Melekeok). The oral history as it is told is consistent with the scientific explanations of volcano eruptions, formation of coral reefs, growing of vegetation, migration of people and formation of social structures. So from the barren sea arose Palau and around 4,000 years ago Palauans began to arrive at least according to Jared Diamond in his book titled,  Guns, Germs and Steels. Through out this time we have come to understand certain things about our world; For example, people from southern Palau (Lukes) inhabited Koror, Aimeliik and Ngarenglui or mostly south and west coast of Babeldaob. On the contrary, those who migrated from north (Ngeurangel) ended up in the east coast, Melekeok and along the east coast including Ngcheschang in Airai. We also understand that these migrations were result of the trade winds that are mostly easterly and westerly. They also followed the current around Palau that is clockwise in its direction. This is the reason why it rains in Aimeliik most of the time. It is because the science of rain formation follows these factor of water condensation and not only because Aimeliik represents the private ‘you know what’ of Uab.

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October 15, 2013

Uaisei Uaisei (Acceptance Without Question)

By Santy Asanuma —-

For years I keep on hearing “omelaes” (criticizing with heavy dose of gossiping) among women at the Mechesil Belau Conference that when a proposal or question begging for approval is presented the only response from the crowd would be “ng uaisei” (so be it). This is unfair if not complete analysis of the actuality because to say that the crowd does not have an alternative recourse to speak their views is not true. There are cultural ways to present one’s views or position even if they are not compatible with prevailing position held the group. So cowardice (bedelekall) and lack of social ability to deal with hard situations cannot be used as excuses for being weak or not being heard or blame one or few persons for thrashing our culture. Majority of Palauans take this path. This is the point of this paper.

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October 14, 2013

Diousekool

By Gaafar J. Uherbelau —-

How many times has someone said ak di ousekool and the next thing you know, they’ve made it a habit? Like chewing betel nut with tobacco. It usually starts off with chewing from a friend’s tet (something I realize I have done more often than I should) and then you end up having a tet of your own. And then you’re hooked and you cannot seem to stop. Then you start announcing how you should quit and how it’s become an expense and yet you cannot.

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October 14, 2013

Killing “mom and pop” store by design

Words from Orakidorm

By Stevenson Kuartei

Recently I have had the opportunity to talk with various members of the community and in particular those who struggle from day to day trying to manage their small “mom and pop” type retail stores. Their concern revolves around the recent legislation on minimum wage and other taxation schemes. But their main concern revolves around minimum wage and how that will impact not only on their bottom line but actually their survivability. For them it means “death” to their aspirations to hopefully one day “make it”. They are even acknowledging that their chance of surviving is less than many of the front businesses along the strip that are operated by Chinese, Bangladeshi and Filipino nationals. There is no “assistance offered” to assist them in realizing their dreams which in many cases include the future of their children. Instead, there are just “road blocks” being created.

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October 14, 2013

Happy Independence Day and Viva 19 Years of Sovereignty

By Jackson M. Henry —–

On this occasion of Palau’s 19th anniversary of independence, once again, our nation celebrates with enthusiasm and pride for having come a long way to take an enviable spot on the world stage. On this special day, we stand tall and salute our founding fathers for their courage, persistence and visions in carving out a nation from of these small islands, barely visible on the world map. It is a statement to the world that when it comes to the pursuit of freedom, justice, the truth and human dignity, size does not matter. Sovereignty assures us that Palau stands equal, shoulder-to-shoulder, with other nations in the world, regardless of their size and wealth. Having pained by the horrors of war and imprisoned by the shackles of colonialism, freedom and independence is sweet. Independence is also our nation’s mantra that says, “We have arrived”. As an elderly Ruback said affirmatively, “it has always traditionally been part of the Palauan spirit to live free and independent in accordance with the laws of nature”.

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October 14, 2013

Happy Independence Day (Soak El Momimokl)

By Santy Asanuma —-

Note: a writer captured in writing on two monumental events: adoption ofCompact in 1994 and the long process leading to our creation of our constitution; It is such sentiments that free us at last!

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October 3, 2013

Feedback

By Gaafar J. Uherbelau —- 

First and foremost this week I wish to thank all of those people who have approached me in person with kind words regarding the column over the past couple of months. Thank you all for your positive and encouraging comments.

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October 1, 2013

Celebration of Liberty, Freedom, Sovereignty, Identity, Culture, and Dignity on 19th day of independence

Tia Belau Editorial, September 30, 2013 —- 

This 19th Day of Independence on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 will be a wet one judging from the current weather  conditions and the   forecasts for the next few days. And it is said to be a good omen as  the rain will wash away all the dirt and bad things on the land. 

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