Globally, everyone is affected by Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. In Ukraine, innocent people have died due to this senseless war.

A good number of Ukrainians have fled to safety with only their essentials fitting in one bag. Some are separated by loved ones volunteering to stay behind and help in anyway to defend their motherland.

The rest of the world is feeling the effects of the sanctions imposed on Russia, from fuel to the basic necessities that are imported. And as such, I can’t help, but think about what the long term effects are going to be if this war continues on.

There is no better time to start reflecting on one’s life. Instead of complaining about the high prices of food, fuel and the expenses on life’s conveniences, people really need to take a trip to the simpler living of years ago.

People were much healthier because they ate what they grew in their gardens, taro patches, fishing, raising livestock or hunted for their meat consumption. Families gathered around to listen to the elders pass down life lessons or just a good tale to entertain their families. Entertainment was wholesome, fun for kids and adults and free.

Yes, the world is changing, but the life lessons passed down from our elders are the very core values that makes Palauans unique.

People are too dependent on imported goods and domestic helpers who are doing everything from raising children, running households, tending to the gardens, livestock and even fishing, yet we hear complains that outsiders are taking all the jobs.

Even our own culture and traditions are being shaken by our very own people. Families taking each other to court over lands and property disputes and matters like the selection of chiefs or the Rubak titles within clans are shaken and discussed through the social media openly.

To my recollection, these matters are sacred and only discussed and resolved within the perspective families or clans. What has happened to our culture? Are we so inclined in embracing the westernized livelihood, that we are disregarding some of the core values in our traditions?

Complacency hinders growth and breeds failure. People need to get motivated and less reliant on others for the basic necessities in life and build from within to create a unified and strong nation.

Government handouts stagnates the economy. The media asked the President to allot funds for the private sector to send non Palauan workers back to their homelands with a severance packet.

What is wrong with this picture? This is a cycle that needs to stop. Employers have the legal and ethical responsibilities for their employees. Better yet, employers should hire locally to maximize the growth of the local economy.

There are programs in place to train Palauans for the jobs that non Palauans are doing. And as such, companies need to utilize these opportunities and be creative with their recruiting strategies.

Has anyone thought about the long term impact if China steps in to help Russia in this war with Ukraine? It would be a scare of a lifetime…

Palau’s core values determined the culture’s foundation and rich heritage, one that has prevailed through centuries. However, Palauans now are slowly becoming minorities within their own nation.

As a child I heard some elders say “mla mo beralm a rengrir char chad”  when people are unmotivated or complacent.

Here are some words in the Palauan National Anthem to reflect upon. Verse II: “Belau a chotil a klengar rekid”.

Verse III: “E dongetmokel ra dimla koted. Lomecheliu a rengedel ma klebkellel”

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