This is an excellent short documentary on the current economic reality facing Saipan and the effects of globalization in the CNMI. They make Saipan out to be the canary in the coal mine; a view of the dangers America is facing, namely, empty factories, ruined malls, political corruption, and human exploitation. (Also a hint of China paranoia.)
It paints a grim picture of the place I’m heading to in three short weeks, but looking beyond the doom and gloom the video makes a better introduction than some other videos I’ve seen.
(For those of you outside the US where Hulu is broken, this link should work.)
In 1967, while Florence was on the verge of bursting on the national and international scene for being a hot bed of radical literature, design, art, and architecture, there was a minuscule nation being built off the coast of Rimini, Italy.
Engineer Giorgio Rosa began constructing a platform 500 meters outside of the Italian territorial waters and on June 24, 1968, this platform became a sovereign nation known as Rose Island. Soon a post office was established and a national currency, the mill, was decreed. One month prior to this moment student riots had broken out at the 14th Triennial. These protests were a part of a larger student uprising at the time—a rebellion against mass consumption and the loss of individuality. There was a fear of personal identity disappearing behind the machine of capitalism and government.
Ironically the island seems to have been a place of consumption and elitism as the respubliko de la insulo de la rozo became a place of tax free shopping, a place to simply grab a drink, and a place to watch ships in the Adriatic pass by. Anyone with a boat could make it out to the island republic. Unfortunately Rose Island quickly attracted the (negative) attention of the Italian government, regardless of the fact the nation was formed lawfully. Italy cared little for this fact and set out to squash this outpost—first severing its trade routes and then preventing visitors from accessing the platform. By January 22, of 1969, the republic disappeared as the platform was demolished. Rose Island exists no more, its remnants washed out to sea by a storm.
This comic strip is the real reason I have decided to go to Saipan. It illustrates the adventures of two hobo lolcats who lately have found themselves on a tropical island. Browse through the comics yourself and you will find them charming and impossible to understand. I do!
Just kidding! The real reason for Saipan is I love the TV show Lost.
The inventor of Amazon.com gave a really good convocation speech to the class of 2010 at Princeton. He focused on the difference between the gifts you’ve been given and the choices you make.
What I want to talk to you about today is the difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.
In less than five week’s time I’ll be traveling to Saipan for an extended stay.
Saipan is a part of the CNMI or the Commonwealth of Northern Northern Mariana Islands which is a handful tropical islands on the rim of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans. My friend Peter has been living and working there for the past year or so. I’ll meet him an his family there when I touchdown on August 19th, just in time to celebrate his dad’s 50th birthday.
The time is right for a dramatic change.
I’ve put in my notice at the print shop I work at and I’m in the process of cleaning and painting my apartment to sublet. Aesop warns against leaping into the unknown like this, but I’ve got a good feeling that this is going to be just right. Sure, there is a chance I’ll miss home and my family as soon as I’m gone. I’ll be giving up on a beautiful Montana summer and I’ll miss my brilliant nephew’s first birthday, but it’s time for a reboot and I can’t wait to get started!
Have you heard that Denny Rehberg (Montana’s only US house representative) filed a lawsuit against the city of Billings because trees on his 1000 acre subdivision were scorched in a massive 2008 fire. According to him the fire department “breached its duty” when they decided not to risk their lives to protect his landscaping. Well, old Denny was in Missoula last week and Gabe Fershong asked a great question. Check out the (unfortunately truncated) video of their exchange.
Good save Denny, I hope you enjoy your free time after the elections in November.
Via 4&20 Blackbirds