“Crabology”- The Study of Crab

Words from Orakidorm

By Stevenson Kuartei

 Going fishing a few days ago I had a hard time finding bags of ice at the stores and so I asked the attendant at Meyuns Causeway Shell, “why you no more ice”? He told me, “Ser, I am not sure but boss not bring di ice. Ser, becoz de water system is no more.” And then I realize the reason why there is shortage of ice in Koror. It was because of the OBF and the Wahoo Derby. But the intermittent water hours greatly contributed to the shortage of ice and that’s what my friend was telling me. I recall an article that I recently read about “Integrated Water Resources Management” which was authored by a couple of Palauans and a consultant from SOPAC. The Palauan authors were Ms. Metiek Ngirchechol and Ms. Lynna Thomas from the Palau EQPB. The article was titled, “Integrated Water Resources Management- Developing Integrated Water Resource Management in the Republic of Palau.” The article of course can speak for itself but what was more impressive to me are the “References” at end of the article. Several of the cited articles stand out because they are authored by Palauans such as, A. Eledui, I.U. Olkeriil, Y. Golbuu and D.O. Otobed. In particular are a couple of sources about “Water Security and Safety” the very issue that we need to pursue as the ultimate goal for our national water policies. 

Reading this article I could almost feel the brainpower, the intellectual prowess and the research capacities of Palauans who are experts in the field of water safety and security. I can see the efforts and investments into several important work in this particular field and yet, I can’t get ice to go fishing because of intermittent water supply. Then, I remember an old man from Keiukl telling me as we were sitting by the sea in Ngaremlengui. “Ollei, kid a rechad er Belau a kora rekung el ngara chelsel a baket. Ke de mo mechelid e di omedobed era remla ngoriakl mete me obiou.” His statement means, “Palauans are like a bunch of crabs in a bucket. When one is about to climb out, the others pull it down to the bottom of the bucket.” It would seem so normal, no brainer to garner the expertise of those who among us who have the knowledge and the capacity to solve the complex issues that we face daily. Not being able to get a bag of ice is not a life saving matter, but the very issue of water safety and security for Palauan residents and guests is a huge issue. Apparently Palau has the level of expertise to create the political and scientific framework to assure long-term management of our water resources. And as Ms. Ngirchechol and Ms. Thomas conclude in their article, “This work will also be linked to broader policy and legislative reforms for IWRM and water use efficiency to be undertaken with the guidance of the Apex water body. The results of the project will also be used by this body to inform such reforms and longer term strategic planning for water resources in Palau.”

Maybe the issue is not about Ms. Ngirchechol and Ms. Thomas but perhaps, “Crabology”. Why are we (Palauans) so unable to recognize the good works that are being done by some of our colleagues and develop capacities to harness their expertise and contributions for the betterment of our peoples? Instead, we do everything to discredit, to down play and sometimes throw away good ideas and even change the name of projects to take away credit when it is due. Maybe at the end of the day we are not interested in getting out of the bucket. Bullying in the small bucket is the essence of “Crabology”. Ms. Ngirchechol and Ms. Thomas, I find your article refreshing and an indication of the coming of age of this new generation. Please write some more because outside of the bucket is a world where experts like you will someday rise and move out of this “Crabology” mentality. Oh crap, no ice! “Ser”, it is not crap, it is grab!


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