“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”.

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