Archive for ‘Santy Asanuma’

November 17, 2013

A Teblo Ng Di 2 (Spirit of Belau Is Not In Numbers)

By Santy Asanuma —-

In Palauan “teblo” (two) is more than two. Palauan people do not rely on numbers but the heart (reng) of the idea. We do not like empirical science because it involves research and formal experiment which require being exact. Little wonder most of our students do not pursue studies in fields that require math and science of exactness. But when it comes to social sciences (tekoi ra reng me a deleuill er a rechad) that requires a lot of sentiments (aikel el di ultuil ra tekoi er a rengud me a uldesued). At one time in the past history of Palau in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s if you asked any high school seniors or the ones already in college what field of studies will they pursue, the most common answer was political science or other fields that require little or no math at all.

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November 15, 2013

What is the answer?

By Santy Asanuma —-

I have learned at this point in my life that simple questions like this cannot be answered let alone satisfy everyone’s expectations or understanding who heard the same answer. This is the work of great philosophers (thinkers) of our times and ones before them who wrote principles in books that we use today to understand education, medicine, natural laws, engineering, justice, cooking, playing and games, diseases, space, sex, politics, social behavior, and even religion as we allow them to operate and affect virtually every aspects of human life. But most people like you and me are not like Galileo, Shakespeare, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, or Einstein. We have not the brains or time for this.

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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 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

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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September 21, 2013

Berrotel El Udoud (Underground Economy)

By Santy Asanuma —-

A Bali a sebechel tomelii a klau el tekoi (counterfeit Palauan money will cause serious problems). Money will put people into a fierce confrontation (klautok). As one Bangladeshi friend of mine in our recent conversation, forewarned that he is not surprised if some of them will be hurt or killed because of greed and cheating among themselves. He said that they combine their money to open a store. But when money starts coming in the one running the store does not want to share the profits anymore. This is where lies and cheating reach boiling point. This is the universal evil that even during biblical times it was forebode (mildung). Money that are not earned in the right way tends to be underground (berrotel er tirkel kirir el mo medengei).

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September 15, 2013

Bai De Bo De Chelsechusem Er Rokui (The Fear of Unshared Blame)

By Santy Asanuma —-

My American friend has coined this phrase to describe us Palauans on how we have fumbled greatly in the ways we are handling our life affairs in modern history of Palau. According to his observation, he sees that Palauans in general cannot do anything right today unlike our ancestors because we fear taking a stand on any issue in the first place for fear of getting blamed for whatever consequences, especially ones that are considered negative or too aggressive; therefore, are not supported by others. This has made us passive (ke diolengeng e diak dokerang) people in light of many rising social problems like crimes, violence, suicide, drop-out, alcohol/drug abuse, pre-teen and teen pregnancies, exorbitant (mla mokeiyangel) customary practices, and breaking up of family or clan solidarity (cheldelel telungalek ma kebliil) to name a few that are mounting around us in all our communities today.

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September 8, 2013

Ngemedechad (Palauans Becoming Endangered Species)

By Santy Asanuma —-

Genocide is the killing of one group of people by another group of people and is probably the most evil and monstrous crime against humanity. But the weakening and wiping out of Palauans is not caused by some militia rebels of different people attacking Palauans. Ngemedechad literally means disappearing people which is used to refer to lineages or clans that by many reasons including not reproducing enough people have only few surviving members or have totally been wiped out. I would venture though to expand my observation in the economic realm and social fiber where Palauans are losing out…sort of weakening into extinction (riiedang e dikea luut er tir).

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August 29, 2013

Klaiuecholt A Oles (Uncivilized Palau)

By Santy Asanuma —-

This is the new way. Definitely it is not from Palauan origin but imported from the American “the Jones has it competition” and the cut throat corporate culture to promote self-interest (sel kmal di moungil er kau) with profit as the highest goal to reach. In Palauan principle, the beluu (community) well being is the highest goal and all individuals in the beluu have to contribute to it. As a matter of fact in this model, it is common that individuals will make great sacrifices to make it possible. People at times would give up their lands for community use or expend great amount of wealth for community feast (mur) that went on up to a week or even give up one of their men to be beheaded (blebaol) as ultimate price to pay to prevent war attack on their village.

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August 27, 2013

Ollachitnger (Cultural Directives)

By Santy Asanuma —-

Mechesil Belau is gearing into its 20th annual conference (2013). Will they tackle the social problems of Palau today? This brings us to a hard question of who gets to decide on what proper or improper conduct (omeruul ma blekeradel) is in Palau? Culture supposedly provides guidelines on how people behave both individually and collectively at home and in public places. It includes everything that is important to Palauans as people. I seriously hope as many others do that “a redelad” (our mothers) will look into our cultural well being over all other issues during this year’s conference.

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August 20, 2013

Customizing Customs

 

 

 

This article appeared on Santy Asanuma’s “Ngarker Olbechel” column by a guest writer. (note: a foreigner and guest commentator with strong views on being Palauan) —- 

Are some of the Customs of Palau having little redeeming value today?

One of the many purposes of writing this column for Tia Belau News, “The Darkness of Time,” is to have people think, think about things and what is going on and what people themselves are doing.

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August 9, 2013

Sex Violence and Die for Palau

By Santy Asanuma —-

Child Psychology 101. Excuse my language but there is no way around calling it some names because it so abound (ng kmal di merael mo klou) in our society. Like the other serious problems that are causing hardships and disruptions in our society, we rather not talk about it. Palau is so wired for social disorder by the way we are living our lives these days. The youth as a collective class in our society is like an approaching comet that we only know has picked up tremendous speed and can possibly collide with planet earth with apocalyptic (ulebengelel a klengar) result. In a sense, we have resigned to the fact that our youth are like cosmic (ngara melidiul) bodies that we have no control over them and how they behave. Really?

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August 2, 2013

Ngou Kilulei (Snake Movement/Prostitution)

By Santy Asanuma —-

I hear it on radio only once in awhile in one of the songs by Lewis. It is neither good nor bad in meaning or implication. I have tried to ask some people what it really means and most of them do not exactly knows what and how the word came to be. As a young boy fishing at the “lemau” (deeper water in the shallow marine area near the mangroves), some of the older boys while holding their fishing line in one hand overhead and swinging it in circular motion for brief moment before throwing the baited hook on the line in the direction of the desired fishing spot. To make it more entertaining, the talented ones would be singing “kilulei kilulei” and swinging their lower bodies like belly dancers.

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July 25, 2013

Hell in Ngerchebal Island

By Santy Asanuma —-

Insignificant as a piece of a rock with sparse vegetation, Ngerchebal Island, has always been there for most residents of both Koror and Imeliik (the correct spelling if I may add) to see out in the sea between the two traditional communities that are now declared as states. Many countries today are at war in the Asia Pacific region over similar islands. Philippines versus Indonesia; Philippines versus Taiwan; Philippine versus China; Japan versus China; Bangladesh versus India and other players are also in kind of disputes or fighting over some small islands in the sea. Is it worth it?

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July 17, 2013

M&M Cheats Palauans in Numbers

By Santy Asanuma —-

M&M has got to be the favorite for most children when I was growing up in the 1960’s. But who would think in early 1990’s that M&M candies would play an important part in our culture. Today the funeral foods in plastic or Styrofoam tray are not complete without M&M’s, especially the one in yellow package. There are times you would see middle age women going through all the stores in town buying all yellow M&M’s because there are more funerals than M&M’s coming in. As a result, you would at times get a pre-packed food during funerals with brown pack of M&M and you kind of feel that it is not the real thing.

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July 15, 2013

Blulak a Telulechoid (Lies Are Widespread)

By Santy Asanuma —-

White lies as they are called are innocent (ng diak a telemelel) in most people’s mind. I know I had my share in doing it because it is an easy way out in about all matters in my life. Plus, the intent is always good so there is no real harm to it. As I have grown, I can bet that most people, even the best among us, have done or are doing it. But that is the danger of it because it is not suppose to hurt people so it is socially allowed to a large degree.

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July 7, 2013

Oral Society Becomes Bengong (Mute)

By Santy Asanuma —-

Oral society is all about talking because there was no pen and paper. All of a society’s principles, teachings and proverbs, aspirations, norms, beliefs, values, traditional and customary practices, legends and folklores, skills and knowledge like fishing and agriculture, social clubs and cultural exchange (eldebechel ma klechedaol), land tenure and origin of the occupants, relationships and interactions like in mechesang connecting klauchad in geological network (nogikiu a rasech) and inter-clan (kaukebliil) system, diplomacy like resolving social conflicts and controversies (el ua tengakireng ma tebekel a deleuill ma olutel a mekemad ra delongelel a beluu ma beluu), art, religion, morality like what is right and wrong conduct, cooking like klengoesbelau ma uulechem el ngikel, building houses and canoes, and just about everything in between that we need to conduct our lives; and therefore, think of ourselves as Palauans. All these are part of daily discussion for them to have a strong place and importance in Palauan life.

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June 25, 2013

Cell Call How Important Is It?

By Santy Asanuma —-

I thought I had heard them all. Recently, I was astounded (ng mlo mechas a renguk) of a cell phone ring like one of those self customized ring tones. It was a voice of a young girl saying, “Karrrinnng karrrinng karrinng” with such a strong intonation for the sound of each letter to literally stand out. I had not heard anything so irritatingly piercing the ear. I guess that was the whole point for the owner to quickly answer every incoming call. But he forgot that this annoying ring travels through the space around him and affected other innocent ears within an earshot. I wondered why anyone would make such a nerve shattering noise like that for a ringer just to get his attention.

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June 20, 2013

Johnny B

By Santy Asanuma —-

Palau in the 1970’s was truly lively. I was in my adolescent (teenage) years and was impressionable with what life in Koror had to offer. Though there was less in those days, it seemed that life had so much promise and excitement. The road was paved for the first time since after the Second War. Flush toilet became a luxury that took many years to replace the outhouses called benjo or orchortoll where outdated Sears Roebuck thick picture catalogs or cardboard boxes were the common toiletries of those days. Though organized entertainments were far and wide in availability, sources of awe and excitement were plenty. Johnny B was greater than life itself for a teenage boy like me then. It was sensational to see him sing for the first time.

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June 10, 2013

Meringel A Rengul A Beluu

By Santy Asanuma —-

What a wasted land? This is the closest interpretation of this Palauan statement. When someone says something to this effect, it implies that one values communal care (cherrungel el uldekial a ulekerruir a rechad ra beluu) and the intent for preservation of what are considered important in a society. So what are important in Palauan society?

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