‘The tide waits for no man’


More than 42 years ago nothing of substance mattered to us except the trust we had in Uncle Sam and the allure of entitlement programs as our all-purpose backstop.

We never saw past our essence and our future. We simply ignored what we needed to load up on our canoe before heading out to our dreamed bright new morning as a permanent part of a larger community. Do we now find the journey one heading into the sunset (twilight) or a new break of dawn?

Today we lament a highly dysfunctional relationship with the feds. We used the misguided nomenclature “renegotiation” when we mean “revisiting” the fundamental provisions of the Covenant Agreement. Is there anything in the agreement that merit improvements? If so, what are they? How do we approach it given the permanency of the arrangement? Is our assertion substantive or platitude-ridden?

Suffice it to say a lot of our frustrations and apparent divisions are internal. To demand imposition of matters solely the purview of the national government is good newspaper copy, nothing else. We may disagree with the feds but how do we approach it with the view that it retracts from treating these isles as a territory?

Lest we forget, our relationship with the feds didn’t spin out of thin air. It was founded on the dreams and hopes of our elderly folks who aspired that our future is a trip into a new break of dawn. They’ve seen the painful dusk before the war, during the war and the long and painful reconstruction period after the war. In short, they were mindful of our future. We are here today!

Is there anything of substance that we wish to revisit with Uncle Sam to revive and re-establish true partnership? How do we approach it and shouldn’t this be the first order of business over a platitude-filled agenda? As it is, our plate is loaded with other issues of major significance requiring resolute review.

We’ve conveniently overlooked economics and fiscal impotence that require critical review. Shouldn’t these two issues predominate listless provincial matters? We must reset our buttons so we could engage reality check. It begins with the self. It begins with conscious leadership. Let’s do it for the “tide waits for no man.”

Puñeteru syndrome

Under the dome of overcast weather, it was a slow rainy day with steady drizzle that turned monotonous. I figure there’s got to be something interesting to do on this gloomy day. I turned to my local dictionary and happened upon the word “puñeteru.”

It’s a term that vacillates between vulgar and dignity depending upon how it is used. It could stand for arrogance of power, non-existent cultural entitlement, loss of integrity or true north. (See if you could insert your own term here). If you call someone “puñeteru” when you’re miffed, the guy is simply a useless arrogant dumb head. If you use it with humor, you’re being kind in subtle ways.

It’s a fascinating expression that I rarely use. And there’s a reason for it: it was the word in mind when a man (must be a big boss) stepped out of the car for a breakfast meeting. Right behind him was a driver with an umbrella on a day that wasn’t raining nor was the mercury so unbearably high. Perhaps it was a lordly demeanor or give me some instructions how to address this unusual sight.

There were folks around cussing obnoxiously as the man was escorted into the building with an umbrella above his head. There’s but blue skies upstairs, so why the umbrella? I wasn’t sure how to react to it other than to let it slide. It’s none of my business. The use of the umbrella, though, becomes my business. I’ve looked forward to talking to the driver to pry his cranium. Or was he simply being servile to his boss?

Perhaps the man deserves to be left alone as a citizen for the sake of protecting endangered common courtesy. Or are we so headless and intrusive to even dictate his conduct? What if in fact he’s earned his dues as a former mayor? What if he’s been a generous businessman during his prime years? Do we really trip him up just for personal satisfaction?

The term is hardly used today and it is likely on its way out to irrelevant land and subsequent death. But with the aura of arrogant indispensability among the “do-nothings” upstairs, this could be the perfect time to revive it one last time. Puñeteru!

Neglifluenza: Pre-Nov. ’14 parade

There was smooth jazz bouncing off in the background. Hoping to secure some semblance of sanity by relaxing with easy rhythm and arpeggios by virtuosos in strings and wind instruments.

Then came West Montgomery’s rendition of Canadian Sunset that sent me down memory lane of yester-years. I was stuck there as faces and places paraded in and out of my mind.

The tune is fitting as old and new political warriors appear in the horizon smiling lamely. Some would have sad sailing into the sunset of their career while others would brave sailing into the break of dawn. It’s a give or take based on your performance in recent past.

It’s rough sailing for incumbents this time around. If you haven’t done anything of substance then you’d be a perfect candidate for your own illness: neglifluenza. By then you’d be standing shoulder to shoulder with the village folks revisiting the even playground downstairs once more.

Otherwise, it’s all fainted gusto to sport good grace as part of an exiting team. Why not, even empires crumble, di ba?

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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