I was forwarded some interesting material today, worth sharing with everyone because of the way it has the ability to jolt us into recognizing the position of Guam.
Apparently, there as someone on myspace named Sherry, a haole living on Guam, who has been posting on her blog there some very hateful things about Guam. To be clear, these are not just simple "Guam sucks" posts, but rather hyperbolic "Guam is the ultimate, pathological with no hope for redemption sucks." The first "simple sucking" is easy to do, no big deal, but second require the expenditure of serious energy to do it and so for someone who really dislikes Guam it makes no sense to spend this much money on something you "don't like." Some other psychological process must therefore be taking place.
After receiving an email I got detailing the things that she had written, one statement being that once she leaves Guam she hopes the island "burns down to the ground" I tried to visit her page, unfortunately lao fortunately her membership had either been cancelled or erased.
Let me post here, i pidasu-na siha finayin apa'ka:
Monday, October 31, 2005
This island is killing me
Current mood: crappy
Just thought I'd say hi from the ghetto. Where the damn Chamorros only work a Hafa Adai. Where it's hotter and humid than hell. Where the geckos, boonie dogs, chickens, spiders, and mosquitoes will scare the shit out of you. Where you figure out what a typhoon is real quick. Where nothing you need at the store is available. Where the ridiculous time difference forces you to be unable to communicate with anybody in the U.S. other than through e-mail. Where everyone you meet is a total idiot. Where the natives do everything half-ass. Where you can order a simple meal at a restaurant and never get it before 30 minutes. Where the potholes in the roads swallow cars whole. Where the electricity and water pressure are more unpredictable than the weather. Where everyone gets a hook-up except you. Where I'm stuck for the next 6 months!!!!
10:20 PM - 4 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment
HAHAHA I freakin love it. This is great. You basically wrote everything that I feel. But you forgot to mention about how you can have full service on a cell phone and still not be able to connect your call. And about how their is no such thing as "fast food" because the locals working at McDonalds and Taco bell take forever to cook a burger and taco and then they screw it up. And how you ask for alot of ketchup and they give you like 2 packets. I freakin hate that. Oh and the best one is how everything is a far drive. The island is only like 10 miles long, that is not far. Lazy bastards dont want to drive anywhere. How can they live on an island their whole lives but they dont know where rt. 4 is. You gotta be like turn left at the coconut tree that the homeless guy sits beside. Oh and when they call us at the clinic and dont know what the hell is wrong with them. I could keep going and going but that would just take to long. See ya around.
Posted by Jason on Tuesday, November 29, 2005 at 1:37 AM
Saw this the other day and had to laugh:
TOP 10 REASONS YOU KNOW YOU'VE SPENT TOO MUCH TIME ON GUAM:
10. You actually feel that your 3 mile commute to work seems like an eternity.
9. A meal isn't complete without finadene.
8. Typhoons, earthquakes, and mudslides are just casual nuisances.
7. You use a 5 gallon gasoline container to store water for emergencies.
6. You go to the NEX mini-mart because you feel the commissary is too far to drive to.
5. Flashlights can be found in every room of your house.
4. You know that even the best dressed person at a semi-formal party will be in shorts and flip-flops.
3. You look forward to finding a brown tree snake.
2. You quit reading the ingredients to Spam and actually eat it.
1. When you can't afford to leave!
Posted by Sherry on Friday, December 02, 2005 at 4:44 PM
Ahhhhhhh! I'm off this hell hole in May bitches!!!!
May the island burn down to the ground the second I take off on the plane....
Posted by Sherry on Friday, March 17, 2006 at 11:02 PM
The Chamorro who forwarded me this info compared it to the ESPN scandal of last year in terms of its stupidity and hater rating. Although this myspace blog does not have the ability to reach the mass audience that the ESPN article did, I would have to agree to a similarity amongst the two, especially in terms of the way they reveal a very uncomfortable truth to those of us on and from Guam.
For my comments on the ESPN scandal from this blog, check out the following posts
ESPN article, Why Do We Fear Being a Third World Country But LOVE Being a First World Colony? or you can see a special issue of Minagahet which was devoted entirely to this issue titled "ESPN sucks"
Both of these scandals are linked to perceptions of us on Guam or us from Guam, that fundamental shatter the basic emotionational ties we feel towards the United States, the imaginary points through which we try to connect to the rest of the United States. In the ESPN scandal, we were less than Americans, Chamorros and others on Guam were so dying to be Americans and increase our status that we would give up our daughters to any serviceman we could find! The perception that many people have (pi'ot manapa'ka siha yan manmilitat) about people on Guam being helplessly backwards and pathologically corrupt creates therefore a difference which scares the hell out of patriotic Chamorros on Guam, because it stands in the way of us imaginging ourselves alongside those very Americans.
Recently, on Fox News they had one of those 5 second segments where they thank their loyal viewers in different places throughout the US or the world. In this particular segment they thanked "Guam" but in a particular way which once again screwed with the patriotic imagining of Chamorros. They thanked the troops serving in Guam, but not those loyal people who live on Guam. This rhetoric of "one community" on Guam sealed binded together by patriotism and love for liberty, which is manipulated incredibly by economic and business elites on Guam (such as the Armed Forces Committee at the Guam Chamber of Commerce) is thwarted once again, in a very simple way. On Guam we attempt to create a oneness with the United States by supporting their troops (which are supposed to be "our" troops), yet we are constantly told in a million different ways that although our support is appreciated, we are fundamentally different then the United States.
The perception that we find in this Sherry lady's posts are of a similar "secret" nature, yet should be obvious to anyone who has done a tiny bit of research or has overheard a conversation at Carmens in Hagatna. Despite the cries from everyone on Guam that we support the military 1,000,000,000% and constantly do our part in fighting the war on terror and fighting against, despensa yu' kumekeilek-hu, for freedom, there nonetheless exists a very powerful narrative amongst so many military servicepeople and their families on Guam, which basically spits on your patriotism and sees you and your island as their worst nightmare.
You could trace this to before the arrival of the Americans in 1898 (and the use of the phrase "clear out for Guam!", but can also find clear mention of the dreaded diseases and suckiness that is Guam amongst military discourse prior to World War II. In Anne Perez Hattori's book Colonial Dis-Ease for example she talks about "Guamitis" which is basically a disease one gets while being stationed on Guam which dumbs you down in every way imagineable. For Naval Governors being stationed on Guam was hardly a stellar career move and most loathed it because it meant that they were probably well out of the loop in terms of career advancement. Para unu na gubetno, solo rason na ya-na na ma pega gui' giya Guahan, sa' mas humihot Guahan yan Asia, pues sina i dos yan i asagua-na humanao yan pasehu guihi ya famahan barato na trastes, ni' para u na'takhilo' i balin social i dos gi entre i sitkulun social militat.
After World War II, Guam becomes "the rock," a place so isolated and so dull that no one would want to serve there. As hardly critical Guam historian Robert Rogers notes, "This war-devastated image of Guam remained a lasting impression for journalists and thousands of American serviceman who passed through the island. For years, Guam would be the butt of jokes in the United States as an uninviting place of military exile, where boredom led to 'rock fever,' a cranky longing to get off the island." For so many military Guam becomes an undesirable place in terms of just living there, as well as causing a dent in your career prospects. In the film Good Morning Vietnam for example, the bad guy of the film played by J.T. Walsh, is punished at the film's end by being transferred to Guam! This undesirability extends to civilian personnel as well. In 1971 tapes from Richard Nixon's office show the chief executive discussing Guam as the ideal site to transfer Federal employees that they don't like.
The Pacific Daily News, as the voicebox for America in Guam, does its best to downplay this always seething/ seeping antagonism, by regularly publishing letters to the editor that bridge this gap between the military and the civilian community in Guam. In these letters people stationed on Guam thank the local people for inviting them into their homes, or their fiestas or for just being a warm, supportive and patriotic place. I'm not here to doubt the sincerity of these letters, or say that the military and civilian communities on Guam cannot get along, but only say that the emphasis on these types of letters obscures the fact that the type of hating this Sherry lady was invoking is going on all the time, both on Guam, in military communities around the world and especially on the internet.
I went through my period of shock over this several years ago when I started doing alot of information and activist work online. I searched throughout military websites and message boards for mentions of Guam, and found dozens of not just negative mentions of Guam, but like this Sherry person, gaichinatli'e, completely full of hatred! The rhetoric of these threads and posts was similar, in that they too reached proportions so exaggerated to lose anything meaningful connection to the world. For example, what the hell does this mean when Sherry and other military complain that on Guam, "...nothing you need at the store is available." Are these people looking for Yellow Cake Uranium or something? What is this everything they need which is never on Guam? The problem is not anything out there, the problem is naturally within them, guaha ni' taigue gi halom este siha na taotao, lao sa' ti manonesto este siha, ma sukne'guan hit put hafa mismo i minalingun-niha siha.
This reaches beyond Guam itself and reflects more so the problems of these people have dealing with the distance from the United States and their loathing and racism for others cultures. Their anxieties, their depression, their laziness and their racism becomes everyone elses problem. And not just any problem, but a pathological, fundamental flaw in the contenance of Guam. Their racist perceptions become the problems of Guam. Beneath the veneer of love and devotion that dominates public representations of the relationship between civlians and military in Guam, we find this disgust for the island which is of course rarely openly admitted to, but nonetheless is always there and always affects how those people treat Guam and treat those of us who call it home or homeland.
Yanggen malago hao humungok este na chinatli'e, gof ekungok i taotao militat ni' umagang halom gi i rediu ya gumuengueng. Ti hinasson-niniha este siha na manachaigua hit todus giya Guahan. Nai ma sangan na debi di ma limit i finahan siha i "local people" gi i comissary pat PX, pat ma kehayi todus put i chinatpa'go pat tinaihinasson Guahan yan i tiguang-na, este na punto (este na tahdong na chinatli'e) ma papacha.
I've written before about how the interests of the military become our interests, often times to our detriment. Here we have the racist denegrading notions of the military becoming the way we view ourselves and our island. It is bad enough that military communities feed off of this negative, hateful rhetoricm but even worse that Chamorros themselves make the exact same claims about the terribleness and crappiness of Guam.
The basis for all this hateful speech is the idea that in the United States everything works perfectly and runs smoothly. So in the United States, you can find all the things you need. You can get your meals in less than 30 minutes. Boonie dogs don't exist and mosquites are of a tiny enough size so not to be menacing. And of course the US is a place where everything is done with everyones full and complete asses.
This is of course why both military and civilians in Guam react to these alleged and hyperventilated exaggerations so vehemently and so violently, because Guam while not part of the US, nonetheless constantly makes gestures that it wants to be part of the US or that it already is part of the US. American flags fly over it and ride the cars both on and off base, and so what a failure this island is every single moment it doesn't live up to the mythic nonexistent promise of quickly cooked and served food that flag is supposed to represent. It should be noted though that that promise does not exist prior to arrival in the colonies, the US is only made to be that perfect place by measuring the colonies as something inferior and thus concocting a ridiculous fantasy of the United States to posit the natural and superlative superior.
Just for the record, I have waited for food more than 30 minutes in the United States proper, and I am constantly surprised at home many lazy people there are in this country, who do things not just ni' lamita i daggan-niha, lao guaha na biahi 1/4 gi i daggan-niha.