Thursday, October 30, 2008

Famous People I Saw at the DNC

Right now I'm writing up my final thoughts on my trip in August to the Democratic National Convention and will be posting them soon. While writing, I had a chance to go back through my photos and see all the pictures I took of famous people while I was there.

For those who want to radically increase the amount of people that they can claim to have been in the same room or within five feet from them, I highly reccomend going to a a Democratic National Convention (or even a Republican one). My list of famous movie, media and political celebrities that I can claim to have bumped into or been pushed aside by their secret service entourage shot up to well over two dozen.

Here are some pictures of the famous people I saw at the DNC (naturally if we were to change this to list of people that I actually had the chance to talk to at the DNC, it would be much much shorter):

The formating for the blog makes it tough to write the names of each famous person underneath their pictures, so I'll place the list here:

1. Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!
2. Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack
3. Michigan Congressman John Conyers
4. Actor Giancarlo Esposito
5. Mass. Senator John Kerry
6. Hawai'i Senators Daniel Inouye and Danial Akaka
7. Rob Riggle from The Daily Show
8. Actress and activist, Tamlyn Tomita
9. Barack Obama's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng
10. Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott
11. Newsweek journalist Richard Wolfe
12. Former South Dakota Senator George McGovern
13. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
14. CNN Reporter Campbell Brown
15. Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean
16. CNN's Wolf Blitzer, John King, James Carville and Gloria Borger
17. Minnesota Congressional candidate Aswhin Madia
18. Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese
19. New York Senator Charles Schumer
20. CNN pundit Paul Begala

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Act of Decolonization #12: Culture, Kuttura, Kutula, Kustumbre, Pengga'

Last month I had the honor of presenting twice at the Tetset Konfrensian Chamorro in Saipan.

I wrote about my presentation on a panel on militarization and political status in the Marianas Islands in my post "Shiro, Sakman yan Fino' Chamoru: Pa'go Giya Guahan."

My other presentation was a solo one, where I was put in charge of a session on "national identity" and Chamorros. The description (which I didn't write) was as follows:

Identifikan Nasionat:

Komu i tinituhon i ManChamorro sina ha' un rastreha mas ki kuatro mit anos tatte sigun i estoria i ManChamorro komu un grupu ha' manparehu na lenguahi, para na kustumbre yan parehu na rasa. Gi kinlamten-ta mo'na obligasion-ta para u ta susteni i hinengge-mu put Hagu mismo.

There were a number of different directions that I could have taken this discussion. But given the importance of issues of preserving and sustaining Chamorro culture to the conference, I decided to intervene at that point.

In my presentation which I'll be posting below (which is in Chamorro), I highlighted the need to expand our ideas of culture, in order to sustain ourselves as a people, not just culturally, but more importantly politically.

In Guam (and to some extent the CNMI) today, there are three different types of cultural expression and assertion, and whichever we chose to emphasis and privilege in our lives defines where the limits of our political life and possibility are. These three types are colonial, multi-cultural and anti-colonial. Each of these different types dictates what Chamorro culture is and more importantly what it does, and how it affects the world around it, what positive or negative impact it has.

"Colonial" implies an absolute suckiness, this is the view of Chamorro culture which is very narrow and negative. It is defined by the gaze of the colonizer, what he perceives Chamorro culture to be, backwards, marginal, dying, impure, stupid, and also is understood as hopelessly dependent. The other aspect of the colonial version of Chamorro culture is that it has become an effect of the colonizer, that it exists as a footnote to the United States, or is just a lucky appendage to it. The "colonial" impulse in expressions/assertions of Chamorro culture are the most negative and fearsome, they basically define Chamorro culture as something disgustingly from the past, which can destroy the present, and also place at the center of Chamorro being, an undying, eternal and necessary loyalty to the United States for all things.

"Multi-cultural" is a step up from colonial. In that Chamorro culture is no longer solely negative things, but is now a thing of beauty and represents a positive, noble essence. Under multi-culturalism, Chamorro culture is not another beautiful part of some larger, usually American whole, a beautiful tapestry of all the different colors, shades and hues that make up today's American family. Here, certain aspects of Chamorro culture, that which is considered to be more pure or more useful in representing Chamorro history and Chamorro life to non-Chamorros are highlighted. So in this universe, Chamorro culture is mainly those things which are positively unique to Chamorros, or which can help impress non-Chamorros and aren't too difficult to explain. Chamorro culture here is still very apolitical, as its presence in that American tapestry is dependent upon not rocking the boat. But the Chamorro here is not without agency or activism. The Chamorro, in some ways, now feels equal to others in the United States and is capable of defending itself, even if in only weak ways against cultural death, destruction and some exploitation or racism.

"Anti-colonial" or decolonial is the form of culture that I am most interested in. Its the culture which is not content or static, but exists to challenge the existing order, the existing structure of ideas and value which oppresses or defines what is and isn't culture. This is the most active and critical form, "anti-colonial" culture is violent, it is like fire, chispas, it does not sit still but constantly wonders around the island. Anti-colonial culture isn't about dependency or equality, but is a force which pushes the colonized to see themselves not as the same, as a part of the colonizer, or even equal, but as something which can surpass the colonizer, do better than them. We see this most clearly in Fanon's Wretched of the Earth, where his plan for decolonization is not some retreat into pre-colonial roots, or one which sees the goal of decolonization as rooted in fidelity to some authentic past or cultural purity. National culture for Fanon is the force which pushes the colonized to see through their colonial present, to break free from the colonizer's gaze, to see themselves as capable of being independent, self-sustaining, and free, and at the more abstract, global level, as more capable of carrying any universal humanistic legacy. Fanon ends his text with that cry, that the colonized people of the world take up that banner and bring to life the humanistic ideas that Europe gave lip service too, but in their treatment of their colonies, easily forgot.

In my talk, I didn't explicitly mention any of these points, except in that I pleaded with those listening to take seriously our relationship to the ideas of our culture. To not simply accept those labels for what is really Chamorro or what isn't. But to interrogate and analyze where those ideas come from and also what they do to us, the people who bear the burden, the limits, and are forced to live those ideas.

Before I continue, I'll share with you the abstract for my presentation:

Identifikon Nasionat: I Kutturå-ta yan i Masagåyi-ta
Fina’nu’i as Michael Lujan Bevacqua

Meggai ta hungok put kutturan Chamorro gi este na konfrensia, ya maolek este. Debi di ta fanguentos put i kutturå-ta, debi di ta espiha hafa taimanu para ta na’utas yan na’ma’ok i kutturå-ta. Yan gi uttimo, debi di ta diskuti taimanu siña ta adapta yan aomenta gui’. Lao guaha peligru annai tit a tungo’ ginnen månu i idea siha na ta u’usa para ta “define” hafa mismo yan ti mismo i kutturå-ta, yan ginnen månu, ginnen hayi na tintanos? Sa’ yanggen un atan i estoriå-ta, pi’ot på’go na tiempo, annok na ti mismo iyo-ta.

Gi este na fina’nu’i-hu bai hu sångan mas put este, ya bai hu “argue” na debi di mas ki kosas antigu i kutturå-ta. I kutturå-ta, taibali anggen ta usa para eskusa na ti siña ta ma’gåsi maisa hit, pat ti siña ta fa’maolek i tano’-ta. En fin, i kutturå-ta debi di ayu na fuetsa, i chumochonnek hit mo’na, i chumochonnek hit para ta gubetnan maisa hit, i chumochonnek hit para ta fanbanidosu ni’ Hita.

To help illustrate what I'm talking about, let me give you an example.

For instance, if you believe that all the "authentic" parts of Chamorro culture are found in the distant past, the pure moments of Chamorro life prior to Spanish colonization, then you, your ideas, and what you assume is possible/impossible, authentic/inauthentic for Chamorros, has a huge impact on what the Chamorro can and can't do, is capable and incapable of doing today. In my talk I was referring to, without mentioning them, so many of the people who were attending that conference, who help perpetuate very narrow conceptions and definitions of what is Chamorro culture, what is Chamorro identity, which lead to the impossibility today of Chamorros possessing a decent, critical or even active sense of national identity. This will only come about, when Chamorro culture isn't reduced to simple, static, pre-contact practices or images, but is actually willing to accept and live out that well-worn, but rarely believed truism that "all cultures change."

Estague i pinagat-hu:


Fine’nina, malago yu’ na bai hu na’i hamyo i inagradesi-hu put este na oppotunidat ni’ en na’i yu’ para bai hu kuentos put kosas gof impottånte nu Hita todu.

Sigundo, bai hu gagao i inasi’in-miyu kontiempo put i manera ni’ bai hu fa’nu’i på’go, gi fino’ Ingles yan gi fino’ Chamoru. Maolekña yu’ tumuge’ yan tumaitai kinu kumuentos yan humungok gi i lenguåhi-ta, pues i fina’nu’i-hu på’go, lamita gi fino’ Ingles yan fino’ Chamoru. Este gi fino’ Chamoru hu tuge’ kontiempo sa’ yomamahlao yu’ fumino’ Chamoru gi me’nan i lahyan na taotao.
Yan lokkue’, umeskuekuela yu’ gi lagu, giya San Diego esta singko años maloffan yan i humuyongña na lumababa yan lumamafñas i Chamoru-hu. På’go, unu ha’ taotao ya-hu kumuentusi gi fino’ Chamoru, ya ayu i hagå-hu, sa’ nene ha’, ya ti u kase’ yu’ pat u sangåni na gof lachi yu’.

Lao put hu gof hongge gi este na konfrensensia yan i guinife muna’dodokko’ gui’ bai hu petsigi gi este bunito na lenguåhi-ta. Sen magåhet i idea-ña este na dinaña’, na i Chamoru siha debi di u ma’gåsi i lina’la’-ñiha yan u usa i lenguåhin-ñiha para u sångan yan diskuti todu i umafefekta i lina’la’-ñiha.

Ta’lo, asi’i yu’ yanggen ti hu komprende ilek-miyu giya Guahu, ya hu gagao na en ripiti i sinangan-miyu gi fino’ Ingles.

Komu apmam yu’ na estudiånte giya Guahan yan California ya fihu uniku iyo-ku “perspective” put i estoriå-ta yan i kutturå-ta put i inestudiå-hu. Para iyo-ku research, bai hu aliligao yan hohokka’ todu kosas siña hu sodda’ gi lepblo, the internet, the news media, gaseta, movies, maseha hafa na lugat, put Guahan yan Chamorro. Ya hu u’usa este siha na materiat para bai hu tungo’ i respuesta para i finaisen siha ni’ umafefekta todu i Chamoru siha, maskiseha ti ta faifaisen maisa hit.

Esta hu tuge’ dos na papet Masters Thesis giya California yan Guahan. Kada unu put un impottånte na finaisen gi lina’la’ Chamoru:

I fine’nina na thesis-hu: “Hafa tainmanu i Chamorron Guahan na mampos manpatriotic yan mamfiet gi I United States guini gi un gof kadada na tiempo?”

I mina’dos: “Sa’ hafa na meggai na Chamorro giya Guahan, ti manmalago na u konsedera pat u diskuti put “decolonization” achokka’ annok na cocolony ha’ i islan-ñiha.”

Este un dos na tahdong na kueston siha put lina’la’ giya Guahan, ni’ tåya’ fuera di didide’ na taotao taiguini giya Hita, fumaifaisen.Todu tumungo’ guaha possible na ineppe’ para este siha na dongkulo na kueston, lao fihu ti manggof maolek pat dinache’. I respuesta put “dependency” pat “patriotism” yan ‘guinaiya” huyuyong ha’, ti nahong tinahdong. Ti ma sangagåni hit put i sistema gi oriyå-ta.

Estague hu kekecho’gue gi i che’cho’-hu: Hu chule’ este siha na mandongkalu na finaisen, ni’ guaha nai gof mappot lokkue’, ya hu espiha i ti a’annok na kontestashon pat ineppe’, ni’ fihu mahafot. På’go na ha’åni bai hu kecho’gue este ta’lo, lao put i kutturå-ta. Bai hu diskuti på’go put hafa i kutturå-ta? Lao mismo bai hu diskuti put ginnen månu na ta chule’ i idea-ta siha put hafa i mismo kutturå-ta yan hafa ti mismo i kutturå-ta.

Antes di bai hu tutuhun, bai hu sångan, na taotao Guahan yu’ ya todu i inestudiå-hu put Chamorro siha giya Guahan pat Chamorron Guahan gi lagu. Anggen ilek-hu “Chamorro” solu hu mentona i CNMI, mismo hu sasångan solamente put Chamorron Guahan.

Meggai hu hungok put kutturan Chamorro, i kutturå-ta, gi guini na konfrensia, ya maolek este. Debi di ta fanguentos put i kutturå-ta, debi di ta espiha hafa taimanu para ta na’utas yan na’ma’ok i kutturå-ta. Yan gi uttimo, debi di ta diskuti taimanu siña ta adapta yan aomenta gui’.

I kutturå-ta. Ahe’ ti kosas ha’, alåhas ha’ pat baila siha, lao put i hafa taimanu ta li’e i tano’ gi oriyå-ta, ya manu gi hinasso-ta, ta li’e hit gi tiempo, gi i tano’, ya gi uttimo, hafa kinapås-ta komo taotao, para ta cho’gue. I kutturå-ta yan i idea-ta siha put i kutturå-ta fuma’titinas i chi-ta komo taotao. I kuttura, yan yan hafa hinasso-ta pat kinemprende-ta put este, guaha fuetså-ña para u chonnek hit pat para u na’para hit. Yanggen i idea-ta siha put i kutturan Chamoru mampos dikike’ pat takpappa’, pues siña lokkue’ Hita ta hasso na mandikike’ pat manakpappa’ hit komo taotao.

Tåya’ peligru gi ta sångan meggai put i kutturå-ta, ta cho’gue este kosaki siña ta tungo’ mas put i bula na diferentes na klasin Chamoru hinengge yan kustrumbre. Lao i peligru gaige annai ti ta tungo’ ginnen månu i idea siha na ta u’usa para ta “define” hafa mismo yan ti mismo i kutturå-ta, yan ginnen månu, ginnen hayi na tintanos? Sa’ yanggen un atan i estoriå-ta, pi’ot på’go na tiempo, annok na ti mismo iyo-ta.

Kada Chamoru diferensiao gi hinasson-ñiha put i kutturå-ña yan diferensiao hinengge-ña put hafa i kuttura, manu na ma sodda’ yan ngai’an na gumaige. Sigun gi hinasso-mu put i kutturan Chamoru, kao manu pat ngai’an, kao tahdong pat didide’ ha’, i Chamoru magåhet pat ti magåhet, malingu pat masodda’.

Bai hu na’ekungok hamyo ni’ sinangan Chamoru ni’ muna’anok hafa na impottånte na ta diskuti este. Hu hokka’ este siha ginnen iyo-ku interviews para iyo-ku Master’s Thesis gi Micronesian Studies.

"My boy, without America were just boka, kichi maigo. Do you think we can survive on that alone?"

"The United States has built the strongest, greatest economy in the world, what have Chamorros done in the same history? We made canoes and built latte stones…I think it’s obvious where our future lies."

"You people want to be independent? You want everyone to speak Chamorro? To be Chamorros and not Americans! Well I say …if being Chamorro means using the outhouse and wearing loincloths, then my kids will not be Chamorro."

"I joined the Navy when I was 17, left the island...if I hadn’t joined the Navy right now I’d either be fat or dead…The culture is not what it used to be, its all food stamps and low rider trucks. Can’t live like that."

"…how can we succeed with the influence of longhaired, shirtless men with ancient ideas running our culture? It may have been feasible before the 16th century, but it is impossible today. Are we wanting to progress or are we looking to regress?"

"…a Guam military that will fight off the Chinese with spears and sling stones."

"We were in trouble in WWII. The United States liberated us and set us right and then went home. Now, it’s a war all over again. Except this time it’s us who are the enemy. Corruption. Ice. Welfare. Suicide. We need them to liberate us again."

"We were a proud people who understood the land and the sea. Lao umbree ga’chong, how are you gonna fight terrorists? With fisga? Or with a fosinos? We can’t do it on our own."

"Lahi-hu, without America, we’re nothing."

Gi todu este siha na deklarashon ta li’e na gi i hinasson este siha na Chamoru, ti klåru hafa i kutturan-ñiha, gof aburido.

Para este na Chamoru siha, i kutturan Chamorro, ahe’ ti kolekshon todu i che’cho’ I Chamoru gi manmaloffan yan på’go. Sigun este siha mampos ma’i’ot i kutturan Chamoru. I kutturå-ta, mismo kosas antigu pat kosas båba.

Dos punto siña ta li’e ginnen este siha na sinangan, ni debi di ta repåra, sa’ i kutturan Chamoru, ahe’ ti listan i che’cho ha’, lao fuetsa ni’ ha na’tungo’ hit ni’ Chamoru siha, hafa siña hit yan hafa ti siña.

Fine’nina: i Chamoru ma “divide” gi båba yan maolek, magåhet yan fatso siha na pidåsu ginnen tiempo yan Estoria. Todu i pidåsu siha ni’ ginnen i maloffan na tiempon Guahan, manmagåhet, gasgas, fakto, maolek, manmatua. I kosas på’go, todu mambåba, aplacha, disonesto, atburutao, ti magåhet na Chamorro, magåhet na Tagalo, magåhet na Españot.

Mina’dos: Humuyong klåru ginnen este i maolek yan båba siha gi kutturan Chamoru, na ti siña este ma usa para u macho’gue i gubetnamento, uma abansa i ekonomia, pat uma fa’tinas i lai siha. I kutturan Chamoru, ti mismo mafa’tinas para på’go na tiempo, ya ti siña ma usa para ta gubetna i islå-ta siha, ya put este, debi di ta dipende gi otro (pi’ot i United States), ya i kutturan-ñiha u chine’gue, hafa ti siña hit.

I kutturan Chamoru gi mas maolek na estao-ña, latte, galaide, sakman yan otro ginnen i manmaloffan na lina’la’ Chamoru. Ya gi i mas båba, i kutturan ginagu, corruption, nepotism, ya Guiya dumistrotrosa i islå-ta siha på’go.

Este siha na idea put i kutturå-ta siha, ahe’ ti mismo iyo-ta, achokka’ meggai na Chamoru ma aksepta yan ma hongge na minagahet. Este siha na idea mismo ginnen i masagåyi-ta, mismo “colonial.” Este na idea mismo ginnen I hinasson i taotao Uropa yan i Amerikånu ni’ ha hahasso na taibali i Chamoru yan otro na mannatibu siha. Apmam na tiempo esta di ta hungok yan ta li’e ayu siha ya esta på’go ilek-ta na magåhet yan hinasso-ta ayu. Manchenglong hit gi este na colonial na hinasso, lao i meggaiña na Chamoru ti ma li’li’e este.

I fundashon este siha na idea kulan i manmagåhet na Chamoru manggaige antes di u fanmåtto i Españot ya maseha håyi ilek-ña na Chamoru gui’ på’go, Guiya ti puro na Chamoru, lao båba na kopia ha’. Todu i minaolek i taotao-ta manmalingu ya ayu ha’ i archives Españot yan i Museums nai siña manmasodda’. I Chamoru siha manginedi ni’ chinan Estoria, kontodu i hinasson-ñiha.

Achokka’ I Chamoru desde hagas ma adapta yan tulaika i kuttraun-ñiha, kulang manmaleffa hit på’go, pues ta duba na manmagåhet hit.

I hiniyong este, na achokka’ siña ta li’e hit gi halom i kuttura na banda giya Guahan, tit a sodda’ hit gi i pulitikåt na banda i lina’la’-ta. Gi ayu na banda, fihu ta li’e Inamerikånu, ya ta aksepta ya ayu todu mismo iyo-ñiha.

Buente ti ta konfotme gi este na sinangån-hu. Lao kontat ki ta aksepta ayu na idea na i magåhet na Chamoru manla’la’ gi i manantigu na tiempo, ta kadena iyo-ta identities gi ayu na tiempo. Ya ta puni na siña umadapta pat tumulaika i Chamoru. Gi uttimo, ta na’i ha’ i Amerikånu siha, ni’ i tiempo-ta på’go yan chi-ña i kutturå-ta.

I resuttå-ña este, na ta sotta i “political questions” put i islå-ta para i United States, ya ta usa i tiningo’-ñiha yan i kutturan-ñiha para ta ma’gasi maisa hit. Ta suponi na para ta na’fattoigue i mas maolek para i gubetno-ta, debi di Siha u fanma’gas.

Hita, ta li’e este klåru gi i hemplo i kinemprenden i taotao put I United States giya Guahan. Gi todu i mangcolonial na lugat, i tano’ madivide gi dos na klasi, kosas siha ni’ kuttura yan kosas siha ni’ pulitikat. I kuttura iyon i Mangcolonized. I pulitikåt iyon I Mangcolonizer.

I Chamoru giya Guahan guaha kutturan-ñiha, buente båba, buente maolek, lao guaha. Mandongkalu na familian-ñiha, dongkalu giput-ñiha, mambaila, manmanganta, guaha alahås-ñiha, artifacts. Este i bandan Chamoru giya Guahan, puru ha’ kuttura.

I United States buente, tåya’ kutturan-ñiha giya Guahan taiguihi ha’, Guiya i dueñu i pulitikåt na banda. Guiya muna’dokko’ giya Guahan todu i kosas ni’ muna’possible i “structuren” Guahan. I kuttura ta suponi iyon i Chamoru, lao todu i “structure” i isla, democracy, economy, laws, society, government, education, technology, ta suponi na i United States chumule’ mågi.

Meggai na Chamoru manmacho’cho’cho’ gi todu este, lao ti Siha, yan ti i kutturan-ñiha muna’fanmacho’cho’cho siha, ti Siha muna’possible siha. Actualmente, gi minagahet, anggen un taitai i Guam PDN na website pat un ekungok nu K57 giya Guahan, todu tiempo ma sasångan guihi na isao i Chamoru ha’ na manmayulang todu giya Guahan.

Pues este na division gi i lina’la’ yan estorian Guahan kumekeilek-ña na i manma’pos, i manmaloffan na tiempo iyon Chamoru. Ya kontat ki na ta suponi na i bandan pulitikåt iyon i Amerikånu, ta na’lamon siha para u diside para manu hit ta’lo. Ta na’i siha i abilidåt para u detitmina hafa taimanu mas maolek para u gubetno i islå-ta, u fa’nå’gue i famagu’on-ta yan para u prutehi i tano’-ta yan i tasi.

I fundamenton-ña este yan meggai na Chamoru humongge este na idea: Anggen malago hao mangkamyo niyok pat mamahan sinahi, faisen yan angokko i Chamoru. Lao anggen malago hao na un abansa i ekonomian Guahan, faisen i Amerikånu. Ya maskiseha mamaisen hao Chamoru, anggen “magåhet na Chamoru” gui’ debi di hafa nina’i hao as Guiya, put kamyo, sinahi pat otro na kosas antigu. Yanggen i ineppe-ña put taxes, development, laws pat otro na ti “cultural” na kosas, ti magåhet na Chamoru gui’.

Este na division entre i kuttura yan i pulitikåt, antes yan på’go, gumogode hit. Ya lokkue’ ha na’fanhongge’ hit na Hita na taotao ti mannahong hit. Ti mangkabåles hit. Ta li’e hit ginnen i matan otro taotao siha ni’ ha hongge na ti siña ta ayudan maisa hit. Ya i hineggen-ñiha manlachi hit sa’ ta hongge’ lokkue’.

I punto-hu go todu este bula na kuentos-hu: I kutturå-ta, taibali anggen ta usa para eskusa na ti siña ta ma’gåsi maisa hit, pat ti siña ta fa’maolek i tano’-ta.

I kutturå-ta, debi di u ma silebra yan uma prutehi, lao debi di lokkue’ ta ripara hafa i chi-ña siha, ya faisen maisa hit, ginnnen manu este na chi-ña siha, ya kao manpinepongle hit ni’ este siha? Mungga hit po’lo i gobetnamenton i islå-ta siha gi i hinasson i otro na taotao siha. Ko’lo’lo’ña gi i ideas ni’ manracist.

Nisisita ta “expand” i idea-ta ni’ hafa Chamoru yan hafa ti Chamoru. Ti debi di ta po’lo ha’ hit yan i minagahet-ta gi hafa mo’na ki i finatton i Españot. I kutturå-ta, ha chuchule’ ginnen i manmaloffån-ta, lao ti katnada para u gode hit tåtte.

I kutturå-ta ti siña ha ayu ha’. Debi di mas. Ti unu ha’ na kutturan Chamoru, lao meggai diferentes na klasi. Ya ta na’fanlamen ha’ hit yanggen otro hinasso-ta.

Pues hafa i finakpo’-ku? Hafa dipotsi i kutturå-ta despues di todu i sinangån-hu? Este i uttimo na fino’-hu put este. I kutturå-ta debi di ayu na fuetsa, i chumochonnek hit mo’na, i chumochonnek hit para ta gubetnan maisa hit, i chumochonnek hit para ta fanbanidosu ni’ Hita.

Todu este kumekeilek-ña na kada na måtto nuebu na kosas guini gi i islå-ta siha ginnen lågu. Debi di ta hasso i bidan-ñiha i Mañainå-ta. Ta chule’ este nuebu, ya fa’iyo-ta anggen maolek gui’ para Hita.

Sa’ iyo-ku grandfather Herreron Chamoru, ya ma honra gui’ giya Guahan ya tinakpangi gui’ “Master,” bai hu eksplika este gi i estorian “lulok.”

Annai fine’nina måtto i lilok guini giya i Islas Marianas, ti manmumu pat manyaoyao i Chamoru siha put, anggen ma usa i lilok “kao magåhet na Chamoru pat ahe’?” Ti hinasson-ñiha na mampos delikao pat strikto i kutturan-ñiha na siempre u falingu todu an ma na’halom este gi halom i kuttura.

Instead, ma usa i lilok, ya dumidide’ dumidide’ ma na’suha i cheggai, acho’ yan to’lang annai ma fa’titinas i ramentan-ñiha. Sa’ sigi ha’ i Chamoru umu’usa, yan i sigi ha’ i Chamoru fuma’titinas, yan i lina’la’ Chamoru sinapopotte ni’ este na ramenta siha, siempre Chamoru lokkue’ este na lilok yan este na ramenta.

På’go i islå-ta siha, bula nuebu na kosas, democracy internet, tv, art, literature, air condition yan otro na technology. Sa’ hafa na ti ta hahasso yan dalalalaki i hemplon i mañainå-ta? Sa’ hafa ti ta chuchule’ lokkue’ este para Hita? Sa’ hafa ti ta fa’iyoyo-ta este siha? Sa’ hafa na esta på’go ta hahasso ha’ na iyon Amerika este siha, ya ta nisisita Amerika para ta usa este siha?

Ray Tenorio Cuts the Strings of Life and Death

Un empe' finayi ginnen i kachido Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence:

"Life and Death are both marrionettes wandering the same table. Cut their strings and they are easily ignored."

Annai fine'nina humalom yu' gi iyo-ku Ph.D. program giya San Diego, hu kilili este guatu lokkue' gi i hinasso-ku. Sina na "estupido" este na sinangan, lao ti para Guahu. Este na sinangan yan otro na research na hu cho'gue, mana'dana' gi i hinasso-ku, ya chine'leghua iyo-ku idea siha put decolonization.

Meggai giya Guahan, yan meggai na Chamoru gi lagu, ti ya-niha kumuentos pat humungok put decolonization, ya fihu ma na'chechetton gi iyo-niha resistance, chatguinife put mina'a'nao, minatai yan i madestrosa-na Guahan. Gi este na hinasso, achapiligro decolonization yan pinino' maisa (suicide). I dipotsi na hiniyong este na kuentos, "mungga madecolonization, sa' siempre pon na'fattoigue hao ni' minatai yan dinestrosa para u toktok yan konne' hao."

Lao ti taiguihi i hinasso-ta, yanggen ti mismo finakpo' pat chi-ta siha "lina'la" yan "minatai." Yanggen ta hasso siha kulang "fanhallom'an" pat "potta" matulaika todu.

I'll have to switch to English here to continue. What this quote, combined with my research on decolonization helped me realize is that ideas such as "life" and "death" are as much locations or states of living and vibrant or desolute and empty being as they are "doors" or barriers which keep certain ideas at bay, or rather are invoked to contain the potential impact of something that is placed behind that door, or frighteningly put on the other side of it. Life and Death are not just states of being, but rather they are ideas which can be invoked to transforming the tempting of anything into a "pandora's box."

For instance, in that old parenting saying, that would you jump off a cliff just because all your friends were doing it? We see the invoking of death, or its spectre, but the point of the saying is not to keep you from dying, but instead to marry together your following of your friends, your giving into peer pressure with dying, all with the desired effect of making you respect your parents' authority.

It is for this reason that in my master's thesis in Ethnic Studies, I basically said, in defiance of this "parenting reflex" that "decolonization is suicide!" I've explained in different ways exactly what I mean by this on my blog many times. But the ultimate point is that, "In that it represents the breaking of a particular desire for the colonizer and thus a dependency upon him and his recognition for your identity, thus decolonization is in reality very much so a suicide. It is the killing of that subject who needs the colonizer and who although they may loathe him, need him to constitute who they are."

Since I've come back on Guam this quote from Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence has gained a new significance for me. Last week on this blog I gave out my 2008 Guam Political Sign Awards, to different mayoral, senatorial and congressional candidates on island. I gave current Guam Senator Ray Tenorio the "To Boldly Go Where No One Else Will Go Award" for being one of the few if any candidates who have a campaign sign up in Tumon. Here is a picture of his sign:

I wanted to give him another award, the Taifinakpo' yan Taihinekkok Award for another one of his signs, but didn't have an image of video of it yet to use.

Its common on Guam, especially in the late afternoon during rush-hour periods in the weeks leading up to an election to see candidates by the side of the road waving. Sometimes they are joined by big crowds, sometimes its just them.

These waving, shows of force are limited of course by schedule, time, resources, etc. Senator Ray Tenorio has found a way around these limits, he has literally found a way to cut the strings of life and death in terms of waving at intersections on Guam. At the ITC intersection in Tamuning, he has taken out ad time on the giant electronic billboard there, and it features the video below of a giant version of him waving at you, and then a plea to vote for him. What this means is that some days, if you are driving by ITC, you get transported into another dimension, one where two Ray Tenorios are out there waving to you, working hard for you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

In Love and Solidarity

Ginnen i atungo'-hu Ahimsa:

Dear friends, loved ones, and colleagues,

I am writing this email to straight allied and queer people of color to economically and democratically stand in anti-racist solidarity with marriage equality and family equality movements in the U.S., as our rights as brown folk in this country are under attack.

As many of you know, this November's election is very important. For the first time, I have donated massively to political campaigns. I earn less than $13,000 a year and this year, over a series of months, I have donated $500 to the Obama campaign. His presidency, to me and to many of us, represents hope for significant positive change in the economy, civil rights, the environment, and the ending of war. I hope we can continue to actively and economically support his candidacy and engage in an electoral turnaround on the Congressional and more local fronts.

I am writing today because, as some of you know, there are amendments in three states -- California, Florida, and Arizona -- that would outlaw same gender marriage and perhaps also make illegal domestic partnerships and any form of recognition of same gender couples, including the access to see your loved one in the hospital and receive health benefits. There is also a ballot measure in Arkansas that would outlaw queer people from adopting or becoming foster parents, in a time when so many of our children of color need loving homes.

I am writing to ask you mobilize against these initiatives in two ways: 1) donate money to the campaigns against these initiatives, and 2) to mobilize the communities of color of which you are a part to vote against these initiatives in the states they are occurring.

As a queer person of color, these Euro-colonial amendments would take away the rights of people of color in this country to have our relationships and families recognized and afforded basic legal protection. This is a civil rights issue about equality for people of color, supported by Julian Bond of the NAACP --
-- and various queer and straight allied people of color civil rights organizations around the country, who recognize this is not a religious issue, but a civil rights issue.

We remember that our ancestors, Indigenous, African, and immigrant were enslaved and denied through various laws the right to marry, because we were seen as unhuman, heathens, merely property and labor. We remember that our ancestors were denied entry into the country and residence in the country as full families due to xenophobic laws that only wanted single workers that would stay temporarily and be worked to death. We remember that until 1967, in various parts of the U.S. it was illegal for our multiracial ancestors to legally marry, due to anti-miscegenation laws that tried to keep white blood pure, white wealth separate, and to prevent our communities of color from working together, with each other and with anti-racist whites. We remember how our traditional honoring of relationships and ways of forming extended, women-led, and same gender families were outlawed, killed, written out of our memories by racist laws. And we remember the millions of families ripped apart by war, genocide, boarding schools, colonial occupation of our landbase, and enslavement.

Coretta Scott King, may she rest in peace, was a tremendous supporter of LGBT civil rights and strongly supported marriage equality for same gender couples.

Mildred Loving, Indigenous Rappahannock/African American civil rights activist, of the Loving vs. Virginia civil rights Supreme Court Case that made interracial marriage legal in the U.S., may she rest in peace, supported marriage equality for all, and understood and supported the links between the civil rights of interracial couples and same gender couples.

To see more on these connections between interracial and same gender marriage equality, and a further interview with Julian Bond of the NAACP, please watch the following video from the National Black Justice Coalition and Faith in America:

It is important that we stand together as people of color to say that we will not allow our families to be further divided and basic civil rights be denied to our people. This is a time for straight people of color who call themselves allies to mobilize and walk their talk, and for queer people of color to claim our futures and our rights.

We can see hope in the victories of Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut where I can live and raise a family equally with that of my neighbors, and in the sovereign right of Native Nations such as the Coquille Nation in Oregon to officially legislate same gender marriage equality as a part of our sovereignty, despite what colonial settler state laws may say about our right to live and survive as Native peoples.

Right now, unfortunately, it looks like the racist, colonial Proposition 8 will pass in California unless significant money is raised and voters are convinced to come out and vote against it. This decision may very well affect the future of my chances to form a family in this country, as it is estimated that if Prop 8 passes, we may have to wait another 20-30 years before marriage equality can occur in the U.S., as what happens in California often affects the rest of the country. In 30 years, I will be 64. I would like to think I could be legally married and have protection for my partner and children before then.

I ask that each and every one of you donate as much as you can to the coalitions working against these propositions in CA, FL, and AZ, that you vote against them if you live in those states, and that you strongly encourage other people of color you know to do the same.

To support the fight for marriage equality, please vote against Proposition 8 in California, and please donate via the coalition website here:
I have donated $500, in addition to my support for Barack, to the campaign against this initiative. (Again, I earn less than $13,000 a year.) And donations can be as small as $5. Every bit helps, and currently the racist conservative forces in this country have vastly outraised us in money. The next few weeks are crucial.

To support the fight for marriage equality, please vote against Amendment 2 in Florida, and please donate via the coalition website here:

To support the fight for marriage equality, please vote against Proposition 102 in Arizona, and please donate via the coalition website here:

To support the fight for family equality and to keep same gender adoption and foster parenting legal in the state of Arkansas, please vote against Act 1 in Arkansas, and please donate via the coalition website here:

Thank you for taking the time to read this and to mobilize in support of equal rights for _all_ people of color and families of color in the U.S.

In love and solidarity,

Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rashne's Roadtrip for Change

I was completely drenched, estaba sen sohgon yu' in American Presidential politics, for all summer and most of the spring. My blog was grateful for the attention, as plenty of times I was writing on it about Obama being smeared by Republicans or Race and Gender in the campaign, when I should have been working on my dissertation. I remember several times writing on my blog that I wouldn't be posting for a week or so, and then ending up posting about Palin or something else which had just pissed me off.
This obsession reached its climax in August when I attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver and for almost two weeks, I thought of nothing else but Presidential politics, race, militarism, colonialism and US territorial - Federal relations.

Now that I'm Guam, my intense link to the race is weakening, the need to constantly write about it, follow it and so on is dumidide dumidide muma'pos. Its slowly fading away. There are several reasons for this.

1. I'm in a long distance relationship with my partner Rashne, and although she is a much bigger Obama-Maniac than I am, we would constantly feed into each other's obsession. Without that time we would spend together each day on our laptops reading stuff from Daily Kos, Crooks and Liars and The Huffington Post, its hard to keep my interest level high.

2. On Guam I don't have MSNBC, I'm stuck with either Fox News (kalakas) or CNN (lana ayu na Lou Dobbs). Keith Olbermann's show was something which kept me informed and in the race, but without watching it every night, and forced instead to watch CNN, again its hard to keep up my interest.
3. Guam, for all its love of America and vigor for re-colonizing itself, is far away from these things. Our vote doesn't count, there are no GOTV operations going on on island, there is very little happening here, except ads that we see on TV which don't usually have much to do with Guam. As I often say, such is life in the colonies...
I am excited today however, because someone special in my life is getting very involved in the Obama campaign, and I do kind of wish that I was there to share it and help out.
I nobia-hu Rashne is driving as I type right now to join The Roadtrip for Change, which is bringing young and old volunteers from Democratic safe state California to swing-state Nevada. Over the weekend hundreds of people will be making the drive to canvas and help get out the vote. Those from southern California are heading to Las Vegas, while those from Central and Northern are going to Reno. Tomorrow Rashne will be lining up to try and see Obama at a rally at a high school in Vegas, and if she misses him, then she'll try to see Michelle Obama again, when she comes into town on Monday. (I say again because she practically "met" Michelle Obama, when she was like twenty feet away from her during her speech at the DNC)

Here's a picture of Rashne with her media pass for the DNC. I'm sending her my love in Nevada and hope that she says safe while she's canvassing.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

2008 Guam Political Sign Awards

I watched Shiro's Head: The Legend last week and one of the stupid jokes that I made with people, is that you can't really be sure it was filmed on Guam. As a film which is billed as the first Guam/local major motion picture this might seem stupid, but the joke is that for all the landscape they showed of Guam, there were no political signs!

For those of you who don't know why this is an issue, every two or four years (for some races) the roadsides of Guam become crowded with signs for Guam's legislative, mayoral, congressional and gubernatorial races. For most people on Guam, unless they have had the opportunity to meet a candidate at a funeral, party or other public event, these signs are the main way of "getting to know" the candidates. For some the candidate's face is most prominent, making what they are wearing, how their hair looks, or what kind of facial expression they are making crucial in determining whether people feel that they can trust/like this candidate or not trust them/dislike them. For others the candidates slogan is the main focus of the sign, because a well crafted or poorly selected slogan can quickly infect the population becoming something which defines your candidacy and public persona in either a positive or negative way. A good slogan will give your political career miles upon miles, and often times people will greet you or wave at you from their cars cheering you on with said slogan. A poor one will haunt you, become something that people jeer at you from their cars, or snicker when they whisper to each other after seeing you at a matai.

Political signs may be things which people complain about and pretend to not take seriously, but they are very much part of Guam's landscape, part of how people, "real" "ordinary" people make sense of the island, and either take seriously or not so seriously their role in Guam's democracy. But in another way, its a big part of the island's economy because the entire economy that goes into the designing, making and placing of signs and other campaign materials is huge. Like anywhere volunteers, family members, friends or other types of supporters are the ones who usually do your distributing, but sign, sticker, t-shirt companies on island all see huge spikes in their sales in the months preceding a November election. These political signs, may be things to dismiss, as I often hear people do, but they are very much a part of Guam's identity and so should be taken seriously.

That being said, I'd like to now do something hardly serious, since we are just a few weeks away from the election on Guam. I've been on Guam for more than a month now and been able to soak in from all around the island, all the different signs that are up, and I'd like to give out some awards for the best, the worse, funniest and ti na'chalek signs out there this year.

First some warnings. These awards are all meant to be jokes, and not meant to favor any particular candidate or party. I have no problem making fun of signs for people whom I support. Second, I've already noted that I think that these signs are important parts of the fabric of life on Guam and so don't take my teasing to imply that I think they are useless and a waste of money. Sure, it would be much better if everyone in a community or everyone on Guam were more involved and didn't vote based on shallow things, but until that changes, the signs should be out there. Third, these may not be funny to you so sorry, I've been told I have a stupid and silly sense of humor.

Without any more prep, No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro is proud to present, the 2008 Guam Political Sign Awards.


1. Most Informative Award - Ernest Torres Chargualaf for Merizo Mayor

Campaign signs on Guam are known for being very short on information or particulars, but Ernest Chargualaf in his sign works very hard to insure that that criticism cannot be levelled against him. This sign is much simpler then an earlier version of the over-informative sign that Sedfrey Linsangan tried out the last few election cycles, which featured his picture and clip art images of his promises. For the people of Merizo who want to know what their candidate is planning, Chargualaf has put himself and his six proposals out there for all the see and remember. (For those of you who can't read them, his promises are: "Open the Youth Center." "Fix the Basketball Court Lights." "Maintain the Baseball Field." "Improve the Merizo Pier Park." "Address the Flooding Problem." "Open the Marine Preserve."

2. I'm Talking to You Award - Eddie Baza Calvo Re-election for Guam Senator

The point of these signs is to try and "talk" to the voters. To communicate the link to the voters driving by your signs, you usually have a friendly image and a catchy message. The friendly image is usually punctuated by a chinalek or smile. In this sign however, Eddie Calvo is taking the idea of talking to voters very seriously and literally, as it almost seems like he is listening to you as you drive by, with his eyebrows raised signifying that he understanding your concerns and pain, and his lips poised ready to respond. It is interesting how much emphasis in political ad and consulting is put on "connecting" with voters, connecting with low information, average people. Sarah Palin was chosen as VP primarily because she was thought to appeal to "regular" people the way Bush did, as someone they would want to hang out with. Bush was infamous for being one of those jerky guys that would be great to be around when you're plastered, because he was the guy you could dare to do anything. With Calvo's sign, he is communicating to you that he wants to hang out, but it is a much more intimate, personal and therapeutic message. He will as Bill Clinton made famous, "feel your pain," and listen to your problems.

3. The American Flag Sign Award - Doug Moylan for Guam Senator

When making any campaign materials, you've always got a few options dictated by region and national imagination in terms of what sorts of shapes, colors, words and images you can use to create catchy and memorable signs or logos. When in an American state or colony and running for public office, the obvious colors, shapes and images that you can draw from are your state, territorial and national flags. Which means that "American" political candidates tend to use alot of aga'ga', apa'ka yan asut (red, white and blue) in their signs and Doug Moylan's signs might as well be American flags with his picture on it. When I first saw his signs that don't have his picture on them, I thought for a moment that Stephen Colbert was running for the Legislature on Guam.

4. The Local Award - B.J. Cruz Re-Election for Guam Senator

For candidates on Guam, they can make use of the national American collection of icons in designing their signs, or they can use more local imagery when trying to capture people's imaginations and votes (karabao, latte, canoes, the Guam flag). The slingstone part from the Guam flag is one of the key images that several candidates are using this election and have used in past elections. While most try to duplicate the colors scheme and look of the slingstone, B.J. Cruz stands out for making a more "local" tattoo inspired version of the slingstone, even making the "J" in his name appear like a haguet or fish hook.

5. The REAL Local Award - Vicente Taitague for Talo'fo'fo' Mayor

I gave Senator B.J. Cruz the local award for his less formal, more indigenous-looking take on the slingstone icon which is huge on Guam. But the "real" local award has to go to Vicente Taitague for his campaign signs, which not only indicates that he is the "real" mayor that Talo'fo'fo' needs, but also uses an even more grassroots, local image, coming direct from i gualo' or i lancho, watermelons or chandiha. Let me make myself clear, these signs are a whole different level of awesome. I would like to see more signs like this in the future, with less pandering sorts of images, but signs which are probably more directly linked to the person running for office. For instance, if my grandfather were running for Senator today, he might have advisers (like me or grandma) who might tell him what sort of things he should put there to connect to people. He might listen to us, but if it were up to grandpa, he would have two big machetes on his sign and probably a fosinos too.

6. Guam ID/Heavy Equipment Operator License Award - Don Weakley for the Consolidated Commission on Utilities.

There are plenty of different ways to design the layout of your campaign sign, but one of least appealing ways of doing it is this version from Don Weakley, which when I first saw it, swore that it was just a blown up picture of his license to operate heavy equipment or his Guam ID. And although this sort of design might indicate a laziness or a simplicity of mind, it could in reality be a mark of poise and grace. After all, if this sign was his Guam ID or his drivers license and he was in Tiyan or at DMV and he was able to sit for that picture on it, which looks like a Josten's glamor shot, then he is someone we should take a look at. In case any of you ever get to see my ID photos, I look like terrorists in all of them. If I were to make a campaign sign featuring my UCSD ID, my California driver's license or even my US Passport, Homeland Security would receive a huge spike in calls from Guam reporting sightings of Osama Bin Laden. (I look nothing like Osama Bin Laden)

7. The Mafnas Award - Tom Ada for Guam Senator

For people who have been in politics on Guam for years, decades, you don't have to design or make new signs every single election cycle, you can usually keep using the same ones over and over again, and voters might actually find it comforting to see those signs as a sign of your consistency and reliability. But if your signs have been out there for a while and have begun to obviously mafnas (fade), then it might be time to invest in some new signs. Tom Ada's stick out amongst all other repeat signs this year as the most faded. If he puts up the same signs two years from now, they'll either become sepia or black and white. (update: Tom Ada has some new signs out, I just saw them when I was driving around today)

8. The Delay of Guam Award - Jesse Anderson Lujan Re-Election for Guam Senator

I'm surprised how many people I've spoken to about this sign didn't realize it, and so for a while I felt a little crazy, as if I was the only one who could perceive this slight crack in reality. Jesse Anderson Lujan has some huge signs up around the island which feature either him looking very leaderly or feature his kids looking very sporty (in soccer clothes, a basketball jersey, bats and balls) and hanging out with him. One of his signs shows him and his kids, tossing around a baseball and a soccer ball, and is brought together with the slogan "He Won't Drop the Ball." Every once in a while Lujan impresses me, with his words and deeds, but I sincerely hope that he does drop that soccer ball, because the metaphor doesn't quiet work unless he does. As a soccer ball is meant to be dropped and then kicked around.

9. To Boldly Go Where No One Else Will Go Award - Ray Tenorio for Re-Election for Guam Senator

Ray Tenorio has shown in recent years a clear commitment to running a very consistent and very wide-spread campaign for his re-election, blanketing not just the roadsides of Guam but also radio and television. Its possible that he isn't the most pervasive voice out there campaigning, but he regularly feels like he is. In a bold move, Ray Tenorio even has signs in a place where most politicians don't bother to set up and that's in Tumon. Senator Tenorio also deserves a special mention for winning the Taifinakpo' yan Taihinekhok Award for finding a way to beat the human limits of sleep and work in reaching the average driver/voter on Guam. The ITC Intersection in Tamuning, a common place for politicians to gather and wave, by themselves or with supporters at those driving by. Although every once in a while you can see Ray Tenorio there waving, he has discovered a way so that he can literally wave at that corner 24/7. On one of the big electric billboards there, you can see a video of Ray Tenorio actually waving at you at any hour of the day. Pues i hiniyong este na, on some days of the week, leading up to the election, Guam becomes like a Twilight Zone episode at the ITC intersection, because you'll see two Ray Tenorios waving at you and staring at you with their hard-working eyes.

10. The Cutest Sign Award - Vicente Gumataotao for Re-Election Piti Mayor

Mayoral candidates get alot more freedom and can be much more cute, down to earth and less polished in their signs than senatorial, congressional or gubernatorial candidates. Such is the case with Vicente Gumataotao's re-election signs which feature a large-headed, very kinute caricature of him driving in a car. I don't know much about the village of Piti or its Mayor, but if I was an incredibly low information and taitiningo' yan ti tomtom na voter, I would consider moving to Piti just because of the cuteness of this ad. As you can see from the ads on this list, there is a sort of professional format for how you make these ads, and its always very interesting when people decide to make bold, silly, stupid or just plain cute choices otherwise. Incidentally, the style of drawing really reminds me of editorial cartoons from the PDN in the 70's. So I wonder who actually drew the mayor and his car.

11. The Bubulao Award - Frank Blas Jr. Re-election for Guam Senator

When I say bubulao, I don't mean the area in Talo'fo'fo' but rather the Chamorro word meaning "scary." I know that taking good pictures for ads can be an insane process, and sometimes no matter how many you take none of them seem inos or just right. For all ads you try to convey a particular message/emotion or particular group of positive, comforting, trustworthy emotions. I don't know what they were shooting for with this very tight, very close image of the candidate, but it looks a little scary too me. There are a lot of metaphors or cultural icons or forms that I could connect this image to in order to convey the sort of discomfort that this image causes in me. But I'll leave it up to you to perceive its weirdness. In sum, not only is it not a very good picture, but its also a creepy one.

12. The ONE Award - David Shimizu for Re-Election for Guam Senator

If you look at all of David Shimizu's signs and ads this year, you'll find a distinctive "glow" surrounding his head and his smile. In the ads he has showing at King's Restaurant, he has the same mystical glow with a swirling galaxy behind him. In this ad, the glow is almost angelic, almost as if Shimizu belongs to the langhet and is a gift from the heavens. I know that politics and ideology intersect at the point where you either identify solutions for society's current problems or point out who they are caused by, and implicitly offer up yourself as the ideal person, the subtle savior who can either implement the solutions or punish those evildoers! Shimizu seems to be taking this point a bit too far with his Messiah-like-glow. I don't know whether or not this was intentional, perhaps Shimizu's artists were inspired by the debate that went on in the states a few months ago between Obama and McCain's campaigns over who was a real celebrity and who was the "one" the Messiah that the American people were waiting for.

13 - The Taya' Salape Award or the Real Grassroots Award - Dan Sanchez for Umatac Mayor.

If I was running for office and making my own signs, with my meager financial resources and my minahmalao in asking for donations or money, I would probably end up doing what Dan Sanchez is doing, literally making his own signs. Throughout Umatac village you can see several of his signs, each of which features letters or images which are placed on planks of wood by nails or thumb tacks. I am not giving this award to tease or draw attention to the poor quality of these signs, far from it. They are an important reminder that while we may dismiss these signs as being slick, polished, lies by rich people, there are still plenty of people out there who are struggling with less resources but are still trying to push their way into the political process. I eagerly await voting for someone who is running for governor of Guam and makes their own signs in this way.

14. Most Creative Award - Jonathan Diaz for Non-Voting Delegate

I apologize for not writing more about Jonathan Diaz's candidacy earlier this fall. He rose plenty of issues that needed to be raised and ended up with far more support than anyone thought possible. I have some personal problems with Jonathan that I shouldn't say too much about, that kept me from publicly and forcefully supporting his campaign, even though much of his platform would be my own if I were to run. But that won't stop me from giving him the award for having the most creative sign. As you've seen from most of the award so far, most of the signs are simple text with a photo of the candidate. Any artwork is usually very low-key, clip-art like, not very expressive or interesting. Diaz's signs with their call for "Revolution" feature a very apt and very expressive image of arms, fists and flags raised in response.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bula Masusesedi Guini Giya Guahan

Plenty of things going on this coming weekend and so I thought I'd post info on all of them. Even if you're not on Guam its still important to keep up to date with what's happening on the island. Although when I was younger I would always hear that there's nothing happening or nothing to do on Guam, this is absolutely not the case anymore. Right now, there is, at some points, too much going on!


OCT. 24 - "Puengen Spondylus"

The Guam Gallery of Art and the Chamorro Artists Association present their fourth Orange Night, Spondylus Night, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 24 at The Guam Gallery of Art at the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña, during Arts and Humanities Month, in celebration of the Chamorro culture and in remembrance of their ancestors.

There will be a special presentation by Christine Choe, an association member, who was selected to represent Guam at the recent ninth China Changchun International Sculpture Symposium, and who will give a slide show presentation of her presentation and address the artists.

All 3-dimensional artist are invited to sell and showcase their art of spondylus jewelry, or spondylus shell. There will be a Gallery fee of $10 to participate, and donations are welcome.

Spondylus jewelry collectors are also encouraged to participate. You must provide your own tents, tables, and more in preparation for rainy or starry night. Association members will distribute treats to children during this festive occasion. Children are encouraged to dress in something orange to receive a treat. Food and refreshments will be served.

Call Filamore Palomo Alcon at 688-0320, 472-9659 or 477-1352, or e-mail: for inquiries.


OCT. 24 - Guam Anime Convention

The University of Guam Anime Club, sponsored by My Anime Shop and G3 Internet Cafe, will host an anime convention on Oct. 24 at Top O' The Mar, Nimitz Hill.

The event will be held from 6 to 10 p.m., and tickets will cost $10 each.

Featured will be best cosplay costume (group, couples, male/female overall); anime art competition; anime trivia; anime music trivia (themes); anime picture trivia (silhouette/outlines); group dances; Nintendo DS Diamond/ Pearl Pokemon trainer battles; new anime previews, music videos; and more.

Everyone is invited.


October 24 - 25 - "Puengen Na’ma’ñao"

Puengen Na’ma’ñao (Fright Night) featuring two evenings of frightening stories about ghosts, superstition, urban legends, supernatural experiences and the occult will be presented by Ginen I Hila’ I Maga’taotao Siha (From the Tongues of the Noble People). The two-night event will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 24 & 25, at 7pm (sundown) at Camp Te’a in Ipan, Talofofo.

Stories will be presented in the CHamoru and English languages and attendees will be treated to a beachside informal affair in a round robin of presentations by members of the island’s storytelling group. Attendees are also encouraged to come dressed in costumes as there will be prizes awarded in several categories.

Tickets are $7 per person or $20 for a group of four. Tickets will be sold at the gate for $10 on the evening of the performances. Refreshments will be served. Signs will be posted alongside the main road of Ipan leading to the venue. For further information and ticket reservations, contact Peter R. Onedera at 735-2808 or e-mail at or Leonila “Lila” Gombar at 734-2868 or e-mail at


October 25 - "Mina'dos na Huntan Manamoru"

Mina'dos na Huntan Manamoru:
Huntan i Manamoru ni' Pumetsisigi Dinitetminan Maisa

Chamoru Summit II:
A Meeting of the CHamoru people working towards self-determination

Saturday, October 25th
UOG Lecture Hall
Mangilao, Guam

A meeting of the CHamoru people working towards self-determination. Sessions will discuss the right of Chamoru self-determination, different status options, as well as goal planning in the following areas: Legal strategies (ligat), economic development (inadilanton ikunumiha), the CHamoru registry (rihestran Manamoru), rethinking education (idukasion hinasso), and educational campaign and strategies (edukasion).

The first CHamoru Summit took place in December of 2007, its aim of uniting and educating generations of Chamorros from across our island community working to promote sustainability and empower positiveand effective Chamorro leadership in light of the increased U.S.militarization of our island, is continued in this second meeting.


October 25 - "Film Workshop with Alex Munoz"


The Guam Humanities is presenting a film directing workshop on October 25, 2008, from 2:00-4:30 PM at the University of Guam, Room 149, at the Leon Guerrero School of Business and Public Administration. Filmmaker Alex C. Muñoz will conduct the workshop. The workshop is open to the public but will be limited to 30 participants. There is a $5 registration fee.

Participants will examine the basic tenets of directing for the big screen. The workshop will provide a private, creative environment for writers, actors and directors to engage with their work, ask questions, build text and take risks. One scene from Muñoz’s dramatic screenplay I FUETSAN I TAO TAO (co-written by Cory Caso) will be broken down, staged, blocked, and filmed with local actors. No previous film experience is necessary to participate.

Alex Muñoz is an independent filmmaker with roots on Guam and in California. Educated at University of Southern California’s School of Film and Television, Muñoz is known for his edgy, innovative style. He directed the short film Return of Our Elder Hurao and the critically acclaimed documentary Li’l Scrappy Boy. Muñoz is the Founder and Creative Director of FYI: Films by Youth Inside, a revolutionary program that teaches filmmaking to youth incarcerated in probation camps. Muñoz has previously worked in partnership with the Council conducting a Films for Youth workshop at the Department of Youth Affairs and creating a sizzle reel for the Camp Roxas: A Journey Home photo exhibit. Muñoz’s latest project, I Fuetsan I Tao Tao - Strength Of The People, is a feature film based on Guam and was selected for development at the prestigious Sundance Film Institute.

The Guam Humanities Council is a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and is dedicated to the promotion and support of humanities-focused programs for the people of Guam.

For more information or to sign up for this event, contact the Guam Humanities Council at 472-4460/1. The last day to register is 5:00 p.m., Friday, October 24th at the GHC office located in the Reflection Center, Suite 106, in Hagåtña.


October 25 - "Sinangan-ta Workshop and Slam"

Spread the WORD like ink on paper about the Sinangan-ta Poetry Workshop (check the flyer below)

Saina Ma'ase.

and don't forget to check out PTC this SATURDAY, 10-25-08 for another
installment of
Doors Open/Poet Sign Up @ 6pm
18 & Older $5 (comes with 1 FREE drink)
17 & Under get in FREE


October 23-26 - "Moscow Circus on Guam"

Circus comes to Guam
By Bryan C. Sualog
Pacific Daily News
October 21, 2008

From Oct. 23-26, the Moscow International Circus will be performing at the University of Guam fieldhouse.

"This circus has played major venues all across North America," said Moscow International Circus producer Cornell Tuffy Nicholas. "It's the type of circus that can play the biggest cities in the world and still be considered a big circus."

Nicholas said the two-hour show includes motorcycle stunts, contortionists, acrobats, an aerial ballet, jugglers and Russian swings. The circus is animal-free, so don't expect elephants or any other exotic animals.

Nicholas said the circus was brought to Hawaii and did very well there and wanted to continue to other islands that made sense -- those that had the population and was able to host a circus of its size.

"We've been trying to broaden our horizons for some time," Nicholas said. "We found Guam to be ideal."

The show includes performers from the famous Moscow State Circus, which has a school where performers learn their craft.

"It's probably the most world-renowned school," Nicholas said.

There also are performers from Mongolia, South America and the United States.

"That's the international part of the 'Moscow International Circus.' We have performers from other places in the world besides just Moscow," Nicholas said

The performers met in Hawaii and arrived on island last night, Nicholas said.

"We're excited. Guam is a beautiful island and there are beautiful, friendly people and we're happy to be here," Nicholas said. "I'm looking forward to a great weekend."

Nicholas said the circus was considering going to Saipan as well, but the trip there hasn't been finalized.

"I'd just like for everybody to have a chance to go to the show because it's going to be something they'll never forget as long as they live," he said.


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