Sunday, April 24, 2005

kinenne' ni' politics

When I interviewed Robert Underwood for my master's thesis at the University of Guam, I was working on a different project, which I later abandoned, Guam politics, campaigning and discussions of culture and cultural change in that.

I remember vividly Underwood saying that in Guam, in times past most so than today, the favorite pastime for Chamorros (and for the rest) is politics. That is entertinment, that is fun, that is where all the drama, emotion, tension, all the excitement on island was at. Getting behind your gayu, forming silly yet vitally important walls between people who might be exactly the same as you, except for one simple choice of affiliation. Underwood was right, absolutely, about times past.

But reading the newspaper on Guam today, I think a huge shift in excitement and everyday joy as changed. While politics is still very important, especially for Chamorros, the new pastime that has emerged is, the Olympic like sport of corruption discussion. It is something which anyone can participate in, and they can do it without any actual knowledge, but just a banal platitude such as "can you believe GovGuam?"

Much like politics was enjoyed because all one would need was "We're number one!" In corruption discussions, anything in the landscape of Guam is fair game for the resources of disgust, anger and revulsion.

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