Showing posts from October, 2014


For almost my entire life I've played video games. I played Double Dragon, Startropics and Dragon Warrior IV for the NES. I played Street Fighter II, Final Fantasy III and NBA Live 95 for the SNES. I have played a bunch of games for SEGA Systems, including Night Trap and even Dune for SEGA CD. On the computer I played games like World Builder, Pool of Radiance, Pirates! and Civilization in many incarnations. Most recently I've played games like Monster Hunter, Starcraft II and Hearthstone. Video games don't take up as much of my life as they used to, as I am busy with working, family life and activism, but they still play a role in my identity and how I see myself culturally. For some their "Chamorro" identity may be rooted to visiting ranches on weekends and attending mass with their grandmothers. For me, Chamorro identity comes not just from working with my grandfather in his blacksmith shop or reading the Chamorro Bible with my grandmother, but also yelling a…

Bota Fino' Chamoru!

Bota Fino’ Chamoru! Michael Lujan Bevacqua The Marianas Variety 10/29/14
During the summer, the Hurao Language Camp at the Chamorro Village in Hagatna held several waves along Marine Drive. This is un såkkan botasion, an election year and so waves are about as common as Japanese tourists, with candidates sometimes standing in the early morning and the twilight hours, hoping to make eye contact with you as you speed by. Hurao’s wave was somewhat different. It wasn’t for any particular candidate, instead it was for “Fino’ Chamoru” or the Chamorro language. Children held up signs with “Håyi hao?” and “Hu tungo’ håyi yu’” on them, and shouted out “Bota Fino’ Chamoru!” to those driving by. Johnny’s Sablan’s immortal classic “Mungga Yu’ Mafino’ Inglesi” or “Don’t Speak English to Me” blared in the background.
It is that time of the year, when young 18, 19 and 20 year old in my classes, who will be voting for the first time start to wonder about this new rite of passage they are about to g…

Discovering Flops

When Christopher Columbus flopped at the Box Office...Twice
Scott Mendelson

Yes, today is Columbus Day, when government offices and many schools are closed to celebrate the Italian explorer who allegedly discovered America. I’m not going to get into the historical accuracy or moral difficulties of the previous sentence, but if you need a refresher go HERE. No, what I am here to discuss today is a bit of forgotten box office history involving the “reason for the season.” I am speaking of course about movies revolving around Christopher Columbus. As the old song goes, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue!” So, since 1992 was in fact the 500-year anniversary of the year Columbus allegedly discovered America, Hollywood set out to “honor” the occasion with not one, but two big-budget big-screen adventures featuring the explorer. There have been any number of occasions in the last few decades of very similar films opening within a short period of each o…

The Culture High Screening


Bombing the Public Square

--> I am a big fan of Bill Maher and his show Real Time on HBO. I have actually been a fan of him since his Politically Incorrect days and even remember him making his comments that lost him his original show so long ago. He has been spearheading this election season a campaign he calls “Flip a District.” After receiving thousands of suggestions from people across the US, claiming their incumbent Congressperson as being the most useless and whose absence in Congress would make their state a better place, he chose Rep. John Kline from Minnesota. Kline, a Republican is not one of the loud and aggressive and sometimes hardly sane mouthpieces that dominate Fox News, such as Louis Gomert and Michelle Bachmann. He doesn't say the sometimes ridiculous things his fellow Republican became notorious for. But he votes alongside them and practices the age-old art of incumbent invisibility. He says little, stands for less, but collects lots of money from major corporations whose age…

The Pacific Remote Islands Marine Monument

Mr. Obama’s Pacific MonumentBy OCT. 1, 2014 The New York Times It’s safe to assume that most presidents have big ambitions and visions of lasting Rooseveltian achievement. Though, in recent history, the millstones of Washington’s pettiness and partisanship usually grind such dreams to dust. There are exceptions, which happen when presidents discover the Antiquities Act.
This is the law, used by Theodore Roosevelt and many successors, by which the executive can permanently set aside public lands from exploitation, building an environmental legacy with a simple signature and without Congress’s consent. This is how President Obama last week, in addition to everything else on his plate, created the largest marine preserve in the world.
He used his Antiquities Act authority to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument from 87,000 square miles to nearly 500,000 square miles, a vast change. The monument is not one area but the ocean surrou…

Dinanña para i Famalao'an na Kandidatu siha


Paluman Marianas #2: I Sihek

Eight years ago on my blog, I started a series titled "Paluman Marianas," meant to feature different native birds of the Marianas and my drawings or paintings of them. I only did one, for I Tettot or the Marianas Fruit dove, and never got around to posting another one. I have plenty of drawings and paintings that feature Guam's birds, in fact with my daughter Sumahi, I've added quite a few more. Sumahi loves to draw in general, but I've tried to teach her as much as I can about the native birds of the Marianas. She can name many of them, probably more than most kids nowadays. But sharing this part of our heritage with her reminded me of my long forgotten series of Paluman Marianas. I wanted to add another one today, #2: I sihek, the Micronesian Kingfisher.
Micronesian Kingfisher - Guam Information courtesy of

The Micronesian kingfisher (Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamonina) is one of the world's most enda…

Between Chinese and Japanese

October 2, 2014 12:00 am JST Yamaguchi dies at 94 YASUNOBU NOSE, Nikkei senior staff writer
Yoshiko Yamaguchi © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Wartime actress Yoshiko Yamaguchi, who later served 18 years in the upper house of the Japanese Diet, died of heart failure at her home in Tokyo on Sept. 7, her family announced. She was 94.

     She grew up in Japan-occupied Manchuria, which is now northeast China, and debuted under the Chinese screen name of Li Hsianglan (Ri Koran in Japanese) in 1938 as a member of the Manchuria Film Association. She broke out in Japan with the 1940 film "Shina no Yoru" ("China Nights"), starring opposite Kazuo Hasegawa. The song "Soshu Yakyoku" ("Suzhou Serenade"), which she sang in the film, also became a big hit.

     When she held a concert in Tokyo in 1941, there was famously a line for tickets that circled the theater more than seven times.


Nightmare in Malesso

The article below comes from the Liberation Day commemorative booklet published in 1994 on the 50th anniversary of the retaking of Guam by American forces during World War II. It covers the story of the men of Merizo/Malesso' in the south, who fought and killed the Japanese in their own village, liberating themselves prior to the US return. For the past six months I've been working with one of the last survivors of this fight against the Japanese, Mr. Jose Mata Torres, featured in the article. Hopefully in the next few weeks we'll be publishing his memoirs of the war titled Massacre at Atate. Until then, here is the article telling the story from a slightly different perspective, written by the late PJ Borja.  


Men escape nightmare in Merizo


So near, yet so far.
In July 1944, the ships of the U.S. Navy could be seen off Merizo, almost as close as the waves rushing over the reefs that fringe the southern village.
For Juan Atoigue Cruz,…

Typhoon Dependency

In this picture, former Governor of Guam Manuel Guerrero is seen talking to US Navy officers during the rehabilitation period following the devastation caused by Typhoon Karen in 1962. Typhoons Karen and Pamela were not only devastating in a physical sense, in that they caused a great deal of damage, they were also devastating and transformative in a social sense, in that the island that was rebuilt after them was very different than the one that had just been obliterated. After both of these typhoons, the US Federal government assisted in rebuilding, even to the point where not only did people start building concrete homes, but new division through new subdivisions were also formed. The days of wooden homes and tin roofing was over for many people after these storms as the reconstruction money allowed them to build new and sturdier homes.

But the changes from these typhoons goes even further. When Chamorros receive aid from the US, it helped to reaffirm a particular type of relation…