With all of the allegations of sexual misconduct from decades past bubbling to the surface for politicians, priests, actors, movie moguls, comedians, and others, two things stand to the fore: First, the gig is up. Now people of all ages – both females and males – know that they no longer have to suffer through this despicable behavior in silence. It is now, finally, publicly unacceptable behavior (except maybe in Alabama – we will have to wait until December 12th to find out for sure). Second, here on Guam, it is probably a good time to revisit the current version of the Chamorro tradition of manginge’ – the tradition of young people showing respect to their elders with a sniff of the hand or a kiss.
The original custom was to smell, or sniff the back of an elder’s hand to show respect. In recent years the custom has morphed into people forcing their children to kiss a person that the parent may know, but who may be a total stranger to the child. I’ve experienced this firsthand countless times when meeting relatives of my husband whose children I have never met, but whose mother or father say, “Kiss auntie!” You can tell that the child is uncomfortable. I always try to say, “It’s ok, he (or she) doesn’t know me.”