Archive for ‘Words From Orakidorm’

September 16, 2013

Public Policy- Regulating Individual Choices

Words from Orakidorm

By Stevenson Kuartei

 Radio Australia couple days ago reported that a South African man was facing deportation from New Zealand for being too fat. His name is ‘Too Fat’ Chef Albert Buitenhuis. He was given a 23-month reprieve to stay in New Zealand but he was told that he “will have to meet any health costs himself” if he gets ill. During the same news broadcast by Radio Australia, the Governor of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea has put out a decree to outlaw chewing of betelnut in the whole city except for a few identified places.  When the Ministry of Health was declared a “chew free zone”, there was a public outcry when in reality there was already an existing law that prohibits chewing of betelnut and smoking in government offices. A well-educated gentleman once made the following statement, “people should be left alone to make individual choices without the government regulating things such as tobacco use”.

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September 5, 2013

“Feasting” Now and “Famining” Future

Words from Orakidorm —-  

Uab: The Giant Who Made Palau Islands” is a story retold by Ms. Faith G. Swords in a book titled Short Stories from Small Islands- Tales shared in Palau. The story is about human tragedy that was perpetuated by the community. In short, Uab ate himself to death (as an individual) but also exploited the resources of the day (people and food source) and from what we gathered died prematurely, perhaps from NCDs. The story is about individual issues that are quietly supported or allowed to happened by the community to continue until they become systemic or societal tragedies. But unlike, Faith’s ending of the story, Uab was said to have been “burned down” by the community out anger because they were “famining” while he was “feasting”. 

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August 23, 2013

“Ate” and the young “Supervisor”

Words from Orakidorm —-  

The “young supervisor” is barely 5 years old and ordering his “Ate”, the domestic helper, to fetch him a glass of water. Mom and Dad are both at work (they have to, I guess) and he is eating chicken nuggets and drinking lemon tea while watching MTV (violent video) on a 54 inch flat screen TV with quadraphonic speakers mounted on the marble ceiling. Ate leaves the ironing which she was doing after she had cleaned the whole house and grandma, to fetch the young supervisor his water. “Throw away my trash,” he orders. He has learned to request things by observing his parents “ordering” the Ate around and has never heard the word “please” associated with any of the requests.

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August 15, 2013


Words from Orakidorm —- 

An article titled, “The Cruel Dilemma: Money Economies in the Pacific” by Father Hezel discusses some of the painful issues that confronts small island societies like Palau in thinking through their economic strategies. One of the irony brought up by this article is the very idea of “preserving our culture” by those who are in a position to exploit it the most. For example, “cash economy” is divergently opposite of “subsistence economy” in moving our nation into or within this age of modernity and those who owns “cash” change the culture.

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August 1, 2013

How does the price of gasoline work in Palau?

Words from Orakidorm —- 

The price of one gallon of gasoline just went up to $5.16, not really $5.15+9/10th cents. Okay fine, so I am a computer illiterate and can’t even type ninth of a cent correctly. And all the reason why I can’t understand how the price of gasoline goes up and down in Palau. What is the logic?

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July 18, 2013

How’s Nation Building? Nguangerang a Tatemai?

From the “Words from Orakidorm” —- 

“It is both with pride as a newly free nation and with the humility of the great task of nation building before us that we share with nations of the Pacific Basin community our experiences in emerging as a nation among you” were the words spoken by President Haruo Remeliik in March 1982 as Palauans aspired to build a nation. 

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July 4, 2013

“Micronesian Copra”

From the Words of Orakidorm —- 

Growing up in the village one of the many things that we did as youngsters was to help our parents fix copra to sell for money. That meant collecting mature coconuts, husking them, cracking them, removing the meat, carrying them to the smoking house, smoking them, putting them in sags and transporting them on boats to Malakal to sell them. Later on, the work became a little sophisticated and so instead of husking the coconuts we split them with an ax then remove the meat and transporting them to the smoking house in a wheelbarrow rather than our backs. It was a hard work but was part of the “chores” that we had to do to help our family to survive.

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May 27, 2013

Too Smart to Remember

From “Words from Orakidorm”—

Several weeks ago I sat and listened to an old Palauan man reminiscing about the yester-years and how the “world has changed.” And so I asked him, “Do you think Palau has changed for better or for worse?” His answer was quite interesting and becoming of a wise man. He said, “Was the little bird in Medechiibelau’s hand, death or alive?” I told him, “It all depended on what Medechiibelau wanted, a squeeze is death and a release is life?” The old man smiled for a moment and softly said, “you are probably right, but is it always a matter of choice? Can you imagine if Medechiibelau was holding a scorpion fish (Eschid)?” “Yes, can you imagine that”, I though to myself as we parted.

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May 22, 2013

Tbarditngod is the Southern Cross

From the column “Words from Orakidorm” —-  

When anchored at Orakidorm, a corner of Ngetngod (a reef between of Ngchesar and Airai) at night you can see the Southern Cross perpendicular to Ngetngod and such the name, Tbarditngod (delbard er a Ngetngod– perpendicular to Ngetngod). A work by Ms. Jolie Liston and Mr. Melson Miko titled, Oral tradition and archaeology: Palau’s earth architecture paints an elaborate and quite complicated (at least for me) topographical discussions using “oral traditions as alternative data set to interpret archeological expression of social organization.” The work also include a lot of information gleamed from known Palauan and expatriate researchers and historians (Olsudong, Tellei, Basilius, Kesolei, Rehuher,  Nero, Marsh, Aoyagi and others) which gives this work a lot of credibility. The work is an attempt to marry archeological, anthropological and sociological data to construct a framework that allows for a glimpse of the creation of the Palauan worldview. (Okay, I am just trying to be  as smart as these people).

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May 17, 2013

Whom Shall I call? Not the Ghost Busters!

The following is a new regular column in Tia Belau called “Words From Orakidorm”, which comes out every Thursday issue. 

Red Cross Anticipates ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ in RMI- Combination of water shortage, crop failures a ‘double-whammy’” is announced by Radio New Zealand International, May 13, 2013 and all over the Internet you can read about it. Obviously, these are effects of extreme weather conditions, resulting from climate change, a topic of huge debate among scientists. In Palau, we know that you can no longer go fishing during the day without having a cooler filled with ice because the fish you catch spoils a lot faster these days. We know that we can actually go spear fishing at night without having to put oil on your skin to keep warm and that may include WD40 because the sea is much warmer these days. We also know that there is a dis-coordination between the moon and tide levels where about 30 years ago when the moon was at the horizon the tide was at its highest level. And when the moon was at “noon”, the tide was very at its lowest. Clearly, it is much warmer in Palau and the trade winds, both easterly and westerly winds have changed its season through out the year. Because these issues are real in Palau, the debate among scientists regarding climate change becomes immaterial. I am waiting for someone to bring the issue of moon and our flag. But that is not why, I am writing this article. This article is about “humanitarian crisis”.

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