January 10, 2020

 Recently, I read a press release from the Federated States of Micronesia that gave me hope for my Chuukese families. Noting that it takes its citizens’ concerns seriously, the FSM national government said it would look into alleged fraud and mail-mishandling at the Chuuk Post Office.

“It is indeed the duty of every employee of the FSM Postal Service to protect every piece of mail—whether it’s flat rate, registered, c...

January 7, 2020

Saipan— Some of the Northern Marianas’ high school seniors were asked recently if they plan to return to the islands after graduating from college.

I don’t see the point of that question.

We’re talking about asking teenagers what they plan to do four years down the road. Most adults can’t even say in the morning what they’ll be doing in the evening. Many of us can’t be certain that what we feel and believe about a certain issue...

January 6, 2020

“The very definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting change.” -- Albert Einstein

All human existence dwells between two points -- fear and hope, the two extremes on the emotional scale. Everyone lives somewhere on the scale. Most people hope things will be better, but they fear change. So until more people have hope than fear, we are paralyzed in the status quo.

On the political side, f...

January 3, 2020

 2020 will be a year of optimism and anxiety. If nothing impedes the Department of Defense’s schedule, the Marines from Okinawa would begin arriving on Guam “in the first half of the 2020s.” This is the advent of a new era. We brace ourselves for the dread of a population surge, not to mention the occasional clash between the military and the civilian community.  

But as far as the local economists and industry stakeh...

January 2, 2020

 2019 has been a busy year for Guam tourism. The Guam Visitors Bureau announced in October that the final two months of Fiscal Year 2019 broke new records, resulting in Guam achieving its best fiscal year to date with a total of 1.63 million visitors. Based on the latest average on-island expenditures, the economic impact for fiscal year 2019 was an estimated $946.5 million, representing a 52.3 percent increase in on-island vi...

December 31, 2019

 My heart sighed upon seeing Greg Champion’s Facebook post about the passing of my first boss on Guam, Lee Holmes. Mr. Holmes, as we all called him, passed away in December in San Diego.

 I worked for him at the former Guam Cable TV for nearly five years. He was the reason I ventured halfway around the world from the flat, expansive plains of central Illinois to this tiny green gem in the great Blue Continent. As is often the c...

I was cleaning the bathroom at the American Medical Center in Mangilao the other day when a thought popped in my head: toilets are like albatrosses in that they are both typically large-mouthed, porcelain white, heavy entities that are surrounded by a lot of poop.

Speaking of clean toilets, the ancient Chamoru must have been meticulously clean people with a pragmatic sensibility about sanitation. Visiting European scholars typi...

December 23, 2019

 Saipan — The last time I experienced the Christmas holidays in Manila was 26 years ago. Which means that I’ve already lived half of my life, so far, on “foreign land” — the Marianas, which ceased to be foreign to me many years ago. That was probably around the same time when young locals would ask me, the “outsider,” questions about their home island’s history and politics and economy. They assumed I knew the answer, and more...

December 8, 2019

 I have never set foot on Yap. But I have heard much about life in the most traditional state of the Federated States of Micronesia. Many Yapese friends, family members as well as former students at Xavier High School, a Jesuit school in Chuuk, have shared with me over the years many beautiful stories of their beloved home.

So, I have come to learn that Yap is paradise on earth, compared to many other places. Also, that th...

December 6, 2019

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 In formal conferences, public meetings and private conversations over self-determination and self-government, we are treated to a series of ideological statements that should cause us to reflect upon our ultimate goals.

Some people state that they just want to be first class American citiz...

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