Showing posts from August, 2006

Adios, isla-ku

I'm leaving Guam in three hours and so I just thought I'd share the last painting I did on Guam this summer.

Sen triste yu' na bai hu dingu Guahan, taya' palabras sina kubre i siniente-ku, puede ha' un komprende yanggen un atan i pilan gi i pinenta-ku.

Simple Act of Decolonization #1

When I first began writing my most recent master's thesis, I toyed around with using the term "act of decolonization." I was at that point reading way too much Zizek and was engrossed in his conception of authentic political act or the Act. Although I didn't end up running with the notion of "act of decolonization" because it became too cumbersome to define and demarcate what exactly it meant, but you can still find traces of it in the way I discuss how to break the decolonial deadlock in my last chapter.

Throughout the writing of this thesis, people often asked me the obvious question which I can answer anecdotally, conversationally and everyday prescriptively, but not theoretically in any systemic way and that is "why is an act of decolonization." What I mean by this is that in writing out my ideas about decolonization in an academic text, it was too too easy to second guess myself and perform my own unproductively self-deconstruction page after …

Peace and Justice Petition

Gi I Tiempon Chapones, i Amerikånu siha, ma sumai hit gi hafa mismo i geran-ñiha, ya todu i Chamorro siha (kontodu I Chamorron I San Lagu na Islas Siha) mamådesi. Yanggen un atan i kinalamten i US yan Valiant Shield, ma pepega hit ta’lo gi piligro, ma guaguahi ta’lo i guafin gera! Ya håyi pau tachuyi hit? Håyi siña tachuyi hit giya Washington D.C.? Tåya’! Taotao-hu, annok na esta måkpo’ i tiempo na ta atan i US para todu. Yanggen un atan i finitme gi i Tinige’ Ginagao Put Pas Yan Hustisia Para Guahan, meggai manmåtto ginnen i US lao meggai matto ginnen otro na tåno’, otro na nasion siha lokkue. I mafana’gue-ta ginnen i Tiempon Chapones, na yanggen ta hagu’i i US ha’, manmaisa hit ya taibos! Debi di ta hagu’i yan aligao i allies-ta gi i otro na isla siha, i otro na nasion siha ni’ manmesmesngon mo’ña lokku kontra colonialism, kontra militarization, ya manmumuyi justice! Meggai pau sangåni hamy…

Hayi i gayu-mu siha?

Para hamyo ni' malago tumungo' hayi bei suppote gi i mamaila na botasion, bai hu pega guini i na'an-na ya buente bai hu na'chetton lokkue sa' hafa este siha i gayu-hu siha.


Robert Underwood yan Frank Aguon

(tres na rason na gof ya-hu Si Unda'ut yan Si Aguon. Fine'nina, mampos malate Si Unda'ut yan i tinige'-na gi i 1970's yan 1980's, muna'masmenhallom put i estao i taotao-ta. Yanggen en taitai i bibliography-niha todu i tinige'-hu siha, fihu Si Unda'ut i mas ma gaige guihi. Sen manopble hit put i kottura-ta yan i lenguahi-ta yanggen taya' bida-na Si Unda'ut ya ti sumaonao gui' gi i meggai na kinalamten Chamoru.

Mina'dos, i tihu-hu Si Unda'ut, primumu yan si nana-hu. Ti brodie yu' taiguihi ayu na sumasangan na debi di u taigue parientes gi politics. Todu i tiempo sinangan-hu na yanggen i parientes-hu i mas anggokuyon pat i mas kapas, pues siempre bai hu bota ya suppote gui'!

Mina'tres, i …

Soundtrack Lachadek

I was supposed to finish up my master's thesis for my program in San Diego over the summer while I'm in Guam, but for reasons why were completely expected, I've barely worked on it.

There are too many important things to do on Guam to worry about finishing up a silly master's thesis whose only direct effect on people will most likely be paper cuts. There is injustice to fight, dominant narratives to contest, consciousness to build and yes absolutely, errands to run, relatives to kiss or visit (or in my case paint things for) and put i matan i eriyan i gima'n i grandparents-hu, there is plenty of weeds pull and trees to trim.

As my summer winds down, I am looking more frantically at the lists I always make for myself, and seeing the many things I have crossed off already as esta munhayan, as well as the things, which are less in number, but nonetheless insist more persistently that are trabiha munhayan.

The thesis is by far the largest and most cumbersome ti munhayan …

July's Least Patriotic Ghosts

A few weeks ago I emailed out a list that me and i ga'chong-hu Nicole had put together a few years ago and had intended to mass distribute as a leaflet or flyer of some sort. Our intentions however were never materialized. There's actually an interesting story about how it never materialized, but its also a bit embarrassing. Most learning experiences are.

The list was ten points that we should all who are Chamorro and who are on Guam should remember every July. Although it was made two years ago, it still has the same impact this July and most likely several more to come, since it is the same lame rhetoric of freedom and liberation that is trotted out for us to consume.

You can find the list here...
Its an important list because these are the points of justice and the sites that when forgotten produce silent injustices and the memories that foster dependency without end for us on Guam.

Forgetting injustice is actually not an easy thing to do, it takes alot of work, as ghosts m…

Marines Blowing Up Tamuning

Recently the Marines on Guam decided to practice detonation tactics in Tamuning! For those of you who don't know Guam, Tamuning is hardly the place that you would commonly associate with military training exercises, its an urban area right beside Guam's tourist district Tumon.

After hearing the explosions echo from nearby the old Guam Memorial Hospital, which is near the current Guam Memorial Hospital, a member of I Nasion Chamoru had this to say:

At around 3:00 PM or a little after, my watch, today August 13, Sunday, there was a tremendous explosion coming from the direction of Tumon Bay. I was at the Harmon Cliffline. I was about a mile away from the explosion, but it was loud. I can imagine the noise it made at the GMH with all the people at the hospital. I understand the explosive training by the Marines was to take place at the old GMH area with all those old buildings still there in disrepair.

My question is who in the hell permitted the Marines explosive training to take p…

From "Invasion of Guam" to "Liberation of Guam"

I wrote a week ago briefly about Jose Camacho Farfan.

He was truly an interesting person in Guam's history, but sadly one which has been largely forgotten as a larger than life figure in Guam's history. I was first introduced to him in an article from the Guam Daily News in the 1970's, which discussed his meticulous note-taking about historical events and village happenings. Later I found an article, pieces of which I will share today, that he wrote for the Guam Tribune insert Panorama, published in the 1980's under the editorship of Chriz Perez Howard.

In his article titled "Guam Notes and Remembrances of Wartime" Farfan provides one of the most clearest and well balanced accounts of the pre-war and war periods on Guam. When I say clear and well-balanced, I mean that the ridiculous patriotism that often fogs the lens of everyday history in Guam is largely absent. This does not mean that Farfan is a raging anti-American communist, although this is precisely wha…

Landscape Painting

Ever since I came back to Guam I've been painting landscapes. Its a very strange feeling, since for years as an artist on Guam I loathed landscapes. Mampos ti ya-hu sa' puru ha' tourist art ayu.

My art was primarily abstract or expressionistic, and that sort of stuff sells poorly on Guam, where the sensibilites of both tourists and locals tends to desire historical representative work or charmingly inoffensive tropical landscape art. So for years I basically survived off students loans, constant extensions on my work study contract and by flirting with middle aged gay men to get them to buy some of my work. I'm not a household name by any means, but I do take some small pleasure in the fact that you can find my work hung in hundreds of homes on Guam (or maybe they are tucked away hidden in closests, or forgotten fallen behind couches). Even though I never could have survived on my art alone, I still do cherish those years when I was actively producing work and actively…

Agondumana, pat Dependency Taifinakpo'?

Here is the text from a radio interview I did at KPRG for students in Peter Onedera's Chamoru 102 class. The topic was something I know very little about, but I was a last minute replacement for the students, the reunification of the Marianas Islands. Sorry, to those that can actually read and understand the questions, my MS Word spell check messed up alot of my sentences, by turning Chamorro words into similarly spelled English words.

What does reunification mean?

Mandañata’lo, pat agondumaña kumekeilek-na na I islas Marianas u marikohi gi pappa’ un gobietno yan un politiku. Yanggen maloffan este na kinalamten, u na’magahet I guinefin meggai na Chamorro gi meggai na tiempo siha.

Explain the Government of the Marianas Islands before the separation.

Antes di manhalom I Espanot, manggaige I Chamoru gi todu I isles Marianas, ya achokka’ unu ha I lenguahin-niha yan hinnggen-niha, taya’ kapitat, taya’ sagan I maga’lahi para todu I islas yan todu I sengong. Manmacha’gue I political power I …

Chalan Guinife

Para i nobia-hu Si Madonna, gof mahalang sin Hagu...

Ti hu tungo' sa' hafa, lao ya-hu i kantan "Moon River," gof simple ya kalang brodie, lao sinembatgo ya-hu. Kao guaha un hungok i kanta ni' mainspired nu "Breakfast at Tiffany's?" Na'an-na "Breakfast at Tiffany's" tinige' Deep Blue Something. Malago yu' umayao ayu na dandan ya fa'tinas i kanta "Atmotsan Shirley's." Na'chalek siempre.

Chalan Guinife
(Maayao i dandan ginnen i kantan "Moon River" ginnen i kachido "Atmotsan Tiffany's."

Chalan i pilan
Fedda’ña ki tasi
Lao Guiya pau chalani

Empen guinife
I amot piniti
I ma’lak i chalan-mu
Bai hu dalalaki hao

Un pokkat
Ya pon krusa i tasi
Sa’ fina’tinas este tasi

Masumai gi i ma’lak
I sumåhi
Hagu nai nene
Gof bunita na nene
I chalan-hu guinife

Two Filipinos Die in Lebanon

Two Filipinos die in Lebanon
By Christine Avendaño, Cynthia Balana
Last updated 02:57am (Mla time)

THE FIRST FILIPINO deaths since the war broke out last month in Lebanon were reported yesterday by Vice President Noli de Castro, head of the task force formed to oversee the emergency repatriation of overseas Filipino workers from the war-torn country.

Although confirming the deaths, the reports of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the labor department differed as to circumstances surrounding their deaths.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday continued her appeal to Filipino workers in Lebanon to heed her call for a mandatory evacuation, saying the window for their safe departure was getting narrower each day.

De Castro said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) reported that one domestic helper was killed while trying to escape from her employer to join the evacuation, while another fell while reportedly cleaning the window of an apartment.…


As I mentioned a few days ago, I'm working on a letter to the PDN editor while I'm on island. Here's my draft so far, there's just a few things I need to check on first at MARC and then I'll send it out this week.

Should issues of Guam’s political status become more prominent in public discussions?
The answer to this question should be an obvious hunggan. With thousands of new military looming on the horizon, a common sense confrontation with Guam’s colonial status is more necessary than ever.

A classic psychological defense is to over-support things which we have no control over, and we see that very much at work with many of Guam’s leaders. While their cheerleader-like positions in support of whatever the US military wants and the lack of any serious discussion of the inevitable negative impacts, might be a simple strategy to get more money from the Feds, it is just as likely linked to their powerlessness in this transition. With their power in this matter reduced t…

Why is the grass greener and the houses better painted on the military side of the fence?

Several years ago when I first began what I refer to as my "information activism" there was a Chamorro living in the states who would often email me and respond to the things I would in my zine, Minagahet.

One of his statements which stayed with me and profoundly influenced the thesis in Micronesian Studies that I was writing at the time, dealt with the patriotism of our elders. In one piece I wrote about the colonial nature of the American rule of Guam prior to World War II. The wife of a Naval Governor referred to this period from 1898-1941 as a "dictatorship American style," making the autocratic rule over Chamorro lands and lives by the US Navy sound like some 1970's variety show. The list of injustices against Chamorros of this time are many, albeit banal, and therefore often forgotten or excused. Chamorros were kept almost completely out of the governence of their island, yet subject to all the mandates of the US Navy. The health and bodies of Chamorros w…

Suggestion Box Optimism

Since I got back on island this time, its interesting how many people think of me first, not as an artist, a scholar or as Tun Jack Lujan's grandson, but as someone who writes letters to the editor of The Pacific Daily News.

Sometimes these comments come from those I would fully expect, such as radicals, activists, cultural artists, some what Robert Underwood once referred to as "the maladjusted" and what some in my family refer to as "crazy people." Other times however, the response will be from someone completely unexpected, such as military people or Filipinos. The one that really jolted my system was from Vid, who works at the KAHA/Two Lover's Point Gallery as their curator and gallery coorindator. When I saw Vid last week while visiting the gallery, he mentioned how much he enjoys reading my articles in the PDN, and is looking forward to my next one. It was definitely a pleasant surprise, unless he looks forward to them so he can laugh at them or set th…