Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Your Reading Comprehension Skills Disappoint Me

Two stories indirectly about Saipan are making the rounds on the Internet today.  The first, titled "Mariana Trench Once Again Named Worst Place to Raise Child" was published in The Onion.  "5 Things I Learned Leaving My Nicely-Paid Lawyer Job to Move to a Small, Tropical Island Near Guam" was published in the Huffington Post and was penned by former Saipan resident and former Delegate Kilili staffer Arin Greenwood.  I have seen both stories heavily commented on over Facebook and Twitter.

First of all, I can't believe there are still people outside of the Chinese government who don't know that The Onion is a satire website.  Kim Jong Un is not the Sexiest Man Alive, and no one lives in the Mariana Trench.  The Onion is not commenting on the quality of life in the Marianas!
NEW YORK—Parenting magazine released its annual list of the best and worst places to raise a child this week, once again naming the Mariana Trench—an undersea chasm located 36,000 feet beneath the western Pacific Ocean—as the least desirable location for rearing children.

“In all categories, the Mariana Trench consistently got our lowest marks as a good place to start a family,” the 14-page article read in part. “The school system is nonexistent, the nearest playground is 300 nautical miles away, and at over 15,000 pounds per square inch, the hydrostatic pressure is enough to crush a child in less than a second.”

“While the area does contain a low crime rate, that benefit is quickly negated by the Mariana Trench’s lack of a police department, not to mention fire, sanitation, highway, or public works departments,” the article continued.
Really?  This fooled you?  Seriously?  I am at a loss for words.

The reaction to Arin's blog also surprised me.  I thought it was a funny story about growing up.  It would appear that many people took the list of five things as an attack on Saipan.
"Don't hate me, but about 12 years ago, I left a well-paying lawyer job in New York to move to a small tropical island near Guam. I had five weeks paid vacation, mango and banana trees in my yard and went scuba diving nearly every weekend."
That's not hate.  That love!  She goes on to poke fun at several of Saipan's shortcomings, but balances them against her own shortcomings and those of living in the mainland.  Marianas Variety editor Zaldy Dandan regularly points out that Arin wrote the best book about life in Saipan.  Arin very much understands the island and the people better than most.  And why does everything written about Saipan have to be about Chamorros?  We are, after all, less than one third of the Saipan population, and are much less likely to write about ourselves than the multitude of cultures we share the island with.  And if you don't like what other people are writing about the island, why not write something yourself?

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