15 June 2011

Sorry Palauans. Ak morolung Belau.

Visiting  Koror, Palau, former HQ of Japanese Micronesia and since 1994 a sovereign state ( on paper) there are two things one can do.

Snorkeling/diving/fishing or visiting/exploring Pacific War battlefields. Especially tiny Peleliu (13 sq.km, population 700 souls) where the battle lasted almost three month leaving all Japanese defenders and 2000 Americans dead, is littered with war left- overs; tanks, anti-aircraft gun's, armoured vehicles, AAV's , LVT’s, Zero's, B 24's and coastal artillery with the barrels pointing towards the blue sky like giant warning index fingers reminding us of the bloody past. DSC_0239-Blog.jpg DSC_0151 blog.jpg

Military hardware however, was not the only thing that the Japanese left behind. Modern land-reform replacing tribal ownership with individual ownership still functioning today, archipelago-tailored postal service now partly defunct , modern secular public educational system, with Koror city from 1922 becoming a sparkling modern metropolis with factories, shops, restaurants, public bath houses, theaters, pharmacies and even a seaplane port. Today the factories are ruins, the public schools Christian missionary indoctrination stations and the bathhouses ......liquor stores and marihuana clubs. The hotels are almost all run by Taiwan-Chinese, staffed entirely by Chinese, Philipino hotel maids, and with parking attendants the only Palauan employees.

Ruins of Japanese plants: DSC_0110blog.jpg DSC_0124blog.jpg DSC_0327blog.jpg

As for education facilities for the Palau kids, there is a chillingly rich variety to choose from, all......... Christian: DSC_0489blog.jpg DSC_0516blog.jpg DSC_0517blog.jpg DSC_0519blog.jpg DSC_0520blog.jpg DSC_0521blog.jpg Additionally there are Korean-, Chinese-, Philipino Christian churches providing education as well as it warms my Hungarian hart that the main high school (Catholic) in Palau is named after a Hungarian Cardinal. Needless to say Cardinal Mindszenty (born Jozsef Pehm) was as progressive as a Neanderthal and politically as gifted as a two dimensional toddler. DSC_0002blog.jpg

It is no wonder that the Palauans are just sitting in front of their corrugated iron shacks starring holes in the air, questionmark on their faces, the only escape being alcohol and drugs or....joining the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan to get a decent pay since Palau has no military and most government officials do not receive salary.

On June 10, 2009, Palau announced that it would accept all 17 of the remaining Uyghurs, detained in Guantanamo but all proven innocent, "as a humanitarian gesture." Rumour has it that Palau's agreement to accept the Uyghurs was tied to Palau's receipt of US$200 million in foreign aid. We do not know if the Uyghur abductees were born Buddhist or Muslim; either way Palau should start building a mosque and a buddhist temple if the Christian majority permits, since every Japanese buddhist temple in Palau was destroyed long time ago.

As one 30 year old Palauan diving-guide said in a moment of frankness. "It would have been better if we were under the Japanese"

by Gabor Fabricius


List of Japanese loanwords in Palauan:



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