Last week for the first time that I know of, I got Youtubed.
I'm surprisingly ambivalent, confused, aburido, over this.
Sure, there were feelings of excitement. Lana, sen paire este.
Feelings of hope too. I got Youtubed along with Julian Aguon and Victoria Leon Guerrero since all of us were on an edition of KUAM News Extra last week to discuss political status and the impacts of the military increases that are already taking place on Guam. Hami na tres, manhohoben ha', and so while we were on Guam we were constantly introduced and interpreted as young people who are taking up the cause of decolonization. By being on Youtube, hopefully we can reach young Chamorros and others on or from Guam who wouldn't ever read Minagahet Zine or even the PDN.
But there were chathinasso lokkue. Lao pinat mandikike'.
Most prominent of these worries deals with the fact that my symbolic existence, the social substance that I am in the world, seems to slowly be moving beyond the means for me to effectively control or regulate. In times past, I have felt small, minute, pulls to recognize this, but always brushed them aside.
One time for instance I stumbled across a message board where a young Chamorro from Guam was bravely discussing his island's status as a colony with a gang of garden variety Americans. I traced through the thread and saw the desperate battle este na heben was fighting against a towering tide of American exceptionalism and ignorance about what is going on in the rest of the world, as well as its own Pacific "backyard."
At one point, completely unbeknownst to me, this young Chamorro had quoted something I had said from an article I wrote titled "Happy U.S. Imperialism Day: Rethinking the Chamorro Place in the American Empire."It was a surreal feeling, because I'm so used to hearing my own words defend me and my positions, but here, was a complete stranger, whose name I didn't know, who had felt that my words somehow proved his point, or articulated the truth he was trying to save.
Yanggen hu alok na nina'manman yu' ni' este, ti ha tatampe todu i siniente-ku. It was definitely a moment that made me re-evaluate my existence, since now I was aware that people might actually take the things I say seriously!
So maybe most people haven't felt something like this before, but one which happened to me last year, has happened to alot of people familiar with sites like myspace and PFG I'm sure. At the time, around PFG people were purging their accounts of excess friends by sending out posts attacking people who were "fake friends" or who just add people to add people and have friend counts. I was kind of annoyed at this emphasis on "real" friends and so I decided to post a response to everyone, basically putting out there my philosophy on the minagahet pat ti minagahet siha of friendship. Here's what I wrote:
Why is everyone getting pissed at "fake friends?" I have too many friends in real life, I don't need that many "real friends" in my virtual life. I already spend too much time on the internet for work, and besides it’s like my grandfather said, “the more you’re on the internet, the more chance they have to identity theft you.” Fake friends not only save my eyesight, my time, but according to the world’s foremost expert on internet security, my identity as well.
I for one don't mind fake friends. Its nice to know that when I come home after a long day of school or work, even if I don’t call my real friends up, my fake friends will always be there on my page, smiling, sometimes fully clothed, sometimes half naked, but nonetheless smiling. To them our friendship was created and resolved through a couple of mouse clicks and that’s it. Nothing more is required unless either of us wants it, and it probably wouldn’t go over so well if one of us tried, “What the hell do you mean “Happy Liberation Day?” you’re not my real friend or anything! Go back to that grainy digital camera image I have of you on my page!”
If you don’t repost this then I’m going to assume that we will continue to be fake friends, ya maolek ha’ todu! If you want to be real friends, taka’ ha’ yu’, or if you want to stop being fake/real friends, pues funas ha’ yu’. If you don't do anything, taya' guaha, mungga chathinasso, ti bei lalalu, because that's what friends are for, no?
Biba Manatga’chong siha!
Sahuma Minagahet ya Na'suha Dinagi
A few days later, I was forwarded, out of nowhere, my own post on fake friends, by someone else who was claiming it as there own. That was pretty surreal.
So like I said, on one hand this is cool, but on the other it reveals the way our words are often not our own. Not only do they originate in a infinite web of possible influences and prior sources, but once they leave our lips they can be twisted into an infinite multitude of meanings as well.
But these are just my insecurities, my fears that things I say will be taken incorrectly, or be used against me.
In response to the handful of my friends that say (jokingly or seriously) that I should run for political office in Guam, my response is always the same: "Are you kidding me? Have you seen my blog?" The reason I respond like this is because of what has happened to former Congressman Robert Underwood over the past two elections for Governor of Guam. Early on in the campaign in 2002, a mysterious flyer, originating from an anonymous Political Action Committee from somewhere in the Southern United States appeared on Guam, featuring apparently racist and anti-American statements from articles, speeches and letters that Robert Underwood has written over the past thirty years. Most of the quotes were taken completely out of context, while some, while appearing to be "racist" were in reality just very real truths about Chamorro self-determination and colonization.
In the 2006 election, the same twisting of words yan fina'baba took place, this time online though. A terrible, terrible website appeared online by anonymous individuals which spread all sorts of lies and misinformation about Underwood, often times abusing real quotes that Underwood had made. I will not post the URL to that website, but I will link you to a number of Underwood's responses to false allegations made by Felix Camacho and his supporters during the 2006 election.
If you were to compare the statements that Underwood has made gi todu i lina'la'-na and mine, and were to interpret them in "anti-American" terms, then I'm being totally honest, but I'm pretty sure that I would make Underwood look like Joe Murphy. If someone was looking to make me unelectable in Guam by painting me as "anti-american" then you wouldn't have to try very hard. In fact, maybe I'll make a category in the links on this blog which will refer people in the most convenient way possible to all my kontra i militat, kontra i Amerikanu siha na tinige' siha. Actually I just checked and if you Google, "Anti-American and Guam" guess whose blog is right there at the top?
Sorry for that self-absorbed tangent, before I forget, here's the links to our interviews:
Victoria Leon Guerrero
Si Yu'us Ma'ase to John Davis for having us on KUAM News Extra for the interviews and to Jason Salas for uploading them onto Youtube. Since I found that video of myself on Youtube, I've been searching around the site for all the Guam stuff that they've got. Thought I'd share the links here:
Jeon Hye Bin dancing on Guam
Although at first I was very suspicious about the new United Nation's global initiative with Justin Timberlake as its spokesperson and point man. The whole thing seemed so hyped up without any real substance. But after seeing Korean actress Jeon Hye Bin dancing to "Sexy back" in front of Tumon Bay, I am now definitely, wholeheartedly committed to his mission to bring sexy back to all the people of the world.
"Estorian Dandero" - Ben Lam Lam
Gof ya-hu este na kanta. Dumandandan Si Ben Lam Lam yan i ga'chong-na gi i kanton tasin Ypao, sa' taya' gi fi'on-na fuera di i bunito na tano'-ta yan i dos na guitalan-niha.
"Back to Guahan" - Erika Nalani Benton
A beautiful, soulful song written by Erika, a member of Famoksaiyan in the Bay Area and performed on the radio several months ago, but also at the UN Report Back event we had in Berkeley "Decolonization in Guam: Remembering Our Roots." I saw the DVD for the event recently and it was pretty damn good, lao siempre ti apmam bei fangguahayi mas infotmasion put este.
Kelly Hu on Kamehameha
Pretty much all of the links here are music related, except I think for this one. But I couldn't resist posting it here, because of how important the message is from actress Kelly Hu on the importance of the Kamehameha Schools in Hawai'i.
You Is All I Want - Savage K
Gof ya-hu este na kanta. Este ha' bei sangan, ekungok gi as Guiya ya un tungo' ya nahong che'lu siempre.
Never Forget Where I'm From -Chamorro Guys at Guam's Airport
This video is so awesome. You have to watch it to see why.
The Reason - Hoobastank
The main reason this is on here is because Hoobastank performed on Guam recently. Anothe rreason is that the song "The Reason" is one of my favorite songs to sing along to while I translate the lyrics into Chamorro as I sing. One more important reason though is that my brother Kuri's band Freedom Fries shares members with the band Matala' which won a competition to be the opening act for Hoobastank on Guam. Although I didn't give them their own section on this list, (sa' ti ma apapasi siha na klasin inetnon) you can still click on this link for a youtube video of Kuri's band playing "Come on Eileen."
Ini na Latte' - Guma' Palu Li'e'
Although I sometimes have problems with people in the group and people who like the group because of the way its supposed to be "pure" the group still does important work for helping revitalizing and keep alive Chamorro creativity. For my problems with Guma' Palu Li'e and other groups that embody a "pure" Chamorro culture check out my post a few weeks ago on the division between the cultural and the political.
C & K on Guam
I really wish I had seen them when they were on Guam this month, lao ai adai estague todu tiempo i estoria-hu, ti nahong i salape-ku.
Patrick Palomo on Guam
I tihu-hu dumandandan pianu giya Guahan.
Fanoghe Chamoru - Rhea Aguon
Because of my Chamorro Nationalist leanings, I thought it would be cool to end with this one. I atungo'-hu Rhea Aguon nai ha takpapangi i nuebu na Centro Kutturan Chamoru giya San Diego. Gof maolek na kakanta Si Rhea, ya mumembro gui' gi Famoksaiyan lokkue.