by Alonzo ‘Al’ Kahalic
I am writing to your good paper to introduce myself and the many topics I would like to share with your readers. My name is Alonzo Kahalic, Al for short and in my over 50 years of roaming and rambling around our great island of Palau I have been privileged to witness, learn and study under the greatest teacher around, Palau. And, it is these bits of wisdom that I would like to share.
The column is called ‘The Silent Majority’ because Palau has taught me and a lot of other Palauans that the first and greatest lesson is that ‘RELATIONSHIPS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN BEING RIGHT’ and there lies the conflict between a lot of us who are trained in western education and law and this simple practice. In Palau we still think about the other person and about the group. But since we have been “educated” in the western system we now practice being right and that there is the one and only truth, rather than maintaining and developing our relationships.
We hear too many times, “this is the truth or this is the best way” without individuals really taking the time to see what is best for everyone, not just the best for the one. This is a conflict that we should be aware of because a small group of people (16 delegates, 13 senators, 1 president and 1 vice president) 16 state governments and the few ‘educated’ people in Palau are speaking for the rest of us while, The Silent Majority are struggling. This column will be to bring up issues that affect us, like COLA (cost of living allowance) that we do not get, but prices keeping going up. Who is responsible to creating a better Palau? I do not know about you, but having a degree is not going to do me any good if I cannot eat or take care of myself using my land and resources. We need to rethink how we educate ourselves, our children and our leaders.
Mr. David Ramarui said in 1976 that, “The basic aim of the Japanese school system was the indoctrination of the natives with Japanese ideas and was characterized by the emphasis on Japanese language and ethics. It was designed to make Micronesians understand the Japanese and obey their orders.” and Fr. Francis Hezel said in 1977 that, “American schools are intended to Americanize; Japanese schools must Japanize.” Isn’t this still going on today in 2021? Our kids, families and leaders are so into hanging out at cafes talking stories, smartphones, Instagram, online research and the capitalist system that we have forgotten to make sure our future is prepared.
Mr. Daniel Quinn in his article, ‘Schooling; The Hidden Agenda’ highlights an interesting question about how to evaluate an educational system and to see if it is for you. The general question is, ‘if for some reason tomorrow morning everyone is dead in Palau and only 18 years old and younger are still alive, can they continue to practice our culture, language, customs, skills, medicine and maintain our current economy and governmental system?’ If the answer is YES then the educational system is working but if the answer is NO then we need to rethink how we train our people to become the leaders needed for the future of Palau as well as the future of THE SILENT MAJORITY.
The purpose of this column is to make us think and question things as well as to question our government and the way it is leading us. Are we moving towards a better future or just someone else’s better future?
Here is the link to Daniel Quinn’s article; https://www.ishmael.org/daniel-quinn/essays/schooling-the-hidden-agenda/
Please email any questions or comment for the next article in October
Your Humble Servant