Level: Jr. Member
The author begins his essay by stating that while the CNMIslands are close to the Pacific Rim, they "nonetheless share little of the culture of Asia or the U.S.", as if to imply that they are somehow backwards or wrong for not having allowed their cultural identity to become absorbed and assimilated by those places. This is at least ethnocentric if not racist. Indeed, the author barely conceals behind his specious guise of whistleblower a boiling racial and ethnic contempt for, what he writes with quotation marks, chamorro '"society"' and its family-oriented culture.
To illustrate and help back up the credibility of his points, throughout his tirade he frequently refers to individuals with terms such as "One member....", "One senator...", "One candidate..." etc. Yet he fails to give names which would help to more specifically identify who these mystery individuals are.
On the other hand, while the author in his writing sensationalizes, magnifies, and focuses solely on negative aspects, his comments about governmental nepotism, beurocratic messiness, and basically the politics of the CNMI in general are at their core, accurate. Having lived on Saipan, I was at first puzzled and then frustrated by the lethargic attitudes I encountered towards the state of politics there. Shortly after I moved in with my mother's family, elections took place. Along with obtaining a driver's license, I registered to vote, and come election day I was told by my mother that I should cast my ballot for a friend of the family. This annoyed me, because I didn't know anything about him and felt that his being a friend of the family alone wasn't a very good reason to vote for him. But, having only recently moved there, I didn't yet have opinions invested in the political situation and so voted for my family's friend. During my time there however, I began to question my mother about what was going on. The first thing that really struck me was that the candidate, whose name I don't remember, was a Republican. When my mom had lived in the US, she had always been a staunch Democrat. She voted for the candidates who shared and supported her principles. I questioned why, even if the candidate was a family friend, would she vote for a Republican. She told me that on Saipan there is basically no difference between what Republican and Democratic candidates stand for (and I saw very little evidence that campaigns there are run on "issues" at all), so people vote for who they know, and that that's just how it is. This has bothered me ever since, because as I came to realize, there is so much room for improvement in the CNMI. And yet the locals seem satisfied for things to remain as they are. He also gives short mention, in discussing the foreign labor situation, to the complicity of major clothing labels who act as enablers for the conditions and treatment of workers at the hands of sweatshops, which I think is a key part of that situation. But of course they get off easy compared to the locals.
The author occasionally makes some off-the-wall remarks. When mentioning the ice/speed problem, he states that "history indicates" methamphetamines helped fuel the Japanese war machine. Shortly after that, he states that Filipinos are THE most talented and hardest-working people in Saipan, "as they are in most of Asia." This indicates a potential bias which may reveal something about the author personally. It also illustrates his penchant for sweeping statements. He portrays Chamorros on Saipan as a bunch of greedy, hypocritical, murderous, incestuous thieves living in a "totally corrupt sub-society", and yet when referring to racism among Chamorros on the island, he flatly states that "they all are". He's the pot calling the kettle black. He even goes so far as to say that "recent reports appear to suggest" (as usual, no links or specific sources, references or bibiliography) "that the CNMI may be a center for the laundering and worldwide dispersal of money by Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations"!
He writes that he is being sought after in order for a defamation suit to be filed against him, and sarcastically points out that his "masterpiece" is protected by the First Amendment. He refers to his writing as "social commentary". But accusing the CNMI of being a pawn of Al Qaeda and terrorism among the many things mentioned above, without providing any other sources to back up those claims, certainly sounds slanderous.
He tries to make himself appear confident in his Constitutional protection, and yet this is simultaneously belied by his anonymity, which he actually seems to take an impish delight in. To write such an inflammatory piece and yet not include a page about who he is, for him not to provide some of his own personal information, (his connection to and history with Saipan, e.g.) brings his credibility into question.
I suspect he's logged onto this forum masquerading as other people in order to bait posters to this forum. The AOL email address he has posted as his contact at the website has the same username, Forgetabilia, as someone who has posted here. Here, however, he feigns ambivalence about the accuracy of what's written at the website. Someone else also pointed out that the three other people (in a row) who slammed Saipan with such vitriol were all AOL users as well. It's suspicious, and it raises doubts about the legitimacy of at least two of those posters as separate individuals.
While I am not proud of the political situation in the CNMI, I am proud of my Chamoru heritage. The Mañamoru endured centuries of subjugation at the hands of other nations, and unlike some other peoples who went through similar ordeals, the Mañamoru managed to hang onto their language and customs. I find it disheartening that in an era where we are free of the strife of the past, we would now lose those things which our ancestors so courageously struggled to preserve, simply due to lethargy and indifference. Changes on Saipan do need to be made. I hope that website angers us enough that we will be driven to prove to him and others who feel the same way that they are wrong about our people.
For those of you who would be interested in reading some CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, visit Ruth Tighe's weekly online column "On My Mind" at http://net.saipan.com/cftemplates/omm/index.cfm . She is a woman from the U.S. who has lived on Saipan for several years. She doesn't shy away from addressing a lot of the ridiculousness that goes on on Saipan, but her writings are poignant, intelligent, and balanced.