Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Underground paper will knock the apathy out of them - We hope

While enjoying a latte at the Coffee Beanery, my friends and I started a conversation that ended with each of us thinking about how to become better human beings. Not "better" as in being more compassionate or patient, or loving.

No, we decided that anger and distaste for mediocrity were not enough to make a difference in this senseless world we live in. Attending municipal meetings and speaking out against government's attempts to politicize healthcare, the landfill issue, public power and water, and other basic services in our community weren't enough either.

After much debate and excitable speeches, (perhaps we all had Too Much caffeine in our system), we decided that the creation of an underground newspaper was necessary to awaken our government officials to force them to make good decisions, as well as the majority of our apathetic citizenry who take great delight in complaining, but otherwise do nothing else.

Politics is taken very seriously here on Guam-- families have been known to completely ignore each other because of political differences. Unfortunately, although I believe that our elected officials are servants of the people and are subject to intense scrutiny, many of the upper echelons of society either ignore political mistakes because they stand to gain something, or they are seriously ignorant.

It would not be difficult to start up this underground paper, my friends and I are quite passionate about local issues affecting our island. We are all writers and one is a local publisher. What will be difficult is time management. We are all extremely busy women, with enough projects and deadlines to keep us running around for the entire year.

Well, we're all aware of this, but we made a pledge that we would begin this weekend. Our first paper will focus on the controversial and atrocious healthcare system on Guam, more specifically, the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority, the only civilian hospital on Guam. Many people have died on Guam for lack of better healthcare because their family could not afford the cost of a plane ticket to the States where the hospitals back there have specialists and equipment and facilities to perform complicated surgeries-- something our local hospital is not capable of doing.

Don't get me wrong, our hospital has some state of the art equipment and some specialists, but it isn't enough. Why? Lack of funding. We have to beg the Guam Legislature for a supplemental budget each year to keep the hospital afloat.

There is a Naval Hospital on island, but their standing orders are to keep locals out and provide healthcare to military personnel only. Of course, if an emergency occurs, and Naval Hospital is the closer of the two, patient(s) will be transported there, but as soon as they stabilize, they are immediately transferred to our local hospital. A sad fact, ironic too, but a tradition that has been accepted by our Chamorro people for years.

Why ironic? Because Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States; because since 1950, Chamorros were granted United States citizenship; because Chamorros are proud to serve their country in the armed forces, as well as the National Guard... oh, I could go on and on...

So, one issue at a time, beginning with healthcare. Our mission: to create controversy, to stimulate independent thought, to bring about change in an otherwise fatalistic, pessimistic, apathetic community. My byline? the Hermit. Just.. the Hermit.


Blogger T. Stark said...

Awesome. Don't forget putting on the Web (If I can help there just ask). I have met many Guamese ;-) and benefited greatly from the accompanying generosity.

Keep us updated.

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If all you writers band together, I can see you making a great difference on an island the size of Guam. I actually considered moving there when I was getting out of high school, just to be halfway around the world and still on American territory.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If all you writers band together, I can see you making a great difference on an island the size of Guam. I actually considered moving there when I was getting out of high school, just to be halfway around the world and still on American territory.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Tina D. said...

DO IT! Being a US Territory can be the best of both worlds or the worst. It's like being 18 years old and being able to fight and die for your country - but not being able to legally drink a beer!

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