Rebirth and Death

I was in California helping my sick father when notified that Manu Lele had been T-boned at anchor by some unknown vessel.

collision damage from side

Collision damage in the side

on deck

On deck

Racing back I brought the all but destroyed catamaran out of the water on the muddy riverbank of Kuala Terengganu on the east coast of Malaysia near the Thai border. The plan was to repair her well enough to get back in the water where she’s secure then return to helping my Dad. Now five months later most of this is complete. I couldn’t obtain wood that was suitable for the strip planking in Asia but Bill Bear, who mentored me during the original construction was so kind as to not only buy the original and best wood type, western red cedar, in Florida, where he lives, but mill the tongue and groove planking, make a wooden box to ship it in and send it to me. The freight consolidator shipped it, by air, for about half what FedEx wanted directly. The only problem was this all took about two months longer than I’d hoped, but patience is often key, especially with sailboats. I also imported epoxy fillers and fiberglass cloth. After replacing the demolished framing, planking up the hole in the hullside went quickly.



The new planking was scarfed to the old for certain strength. Likewise replacing the decking and hatch combings, repairing the hatch cover, and fabricating a new hinge and lashing rails. Fiberglass everything, careful fairing to perfectly match and paint. The day I was going to put the last coat of paint on, the rainy season commenced and did not let up, so without further delay, on the highest spring tide of the year, Manu Lele went back into the water. There was no party though. That morning I learned that my beloved father, my idol, was dead.

Dad as a young scientist and mountaineer

Dad as a young father, scientist and mountaineer

Dad not long ago

Dad not that long ago

He was a research chemist, then on retirement farmed twenty acres of almonds, practiced all wilderness sports from technical mountain climbing, skiing, spelunking, sailing to white water kayaking, cooked Chinese food and Indian food, and studied eastern religions while attending a Unitarian fellowship, built his own television and later computers from the earliest personal computers on as well as building a fiberglass kayak for each member of the family. He was an intellectual of the highest order, a free thinker, man of action and curious explorer to the end.

repaired and safe at dock

Manu Lele repaired and safely docked

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Paint, a Proa, and Cruising SE Asia

Give me money! hey Americano, give me money, hey Joe, fuck you, Americano Joe, hey, give me money, hey, hey, GIVE ME MONEY!

Philippines can be wearisome but I’m out of there at least for now – and in truth this kind of tone just walking through town was this exaggerated only in Carmen, and not this bad in other Filipino communities. I saw once in Carmen a man telling children as I walked by, “OK this is your chance go ahead, ‘give me money’, go ahead, ‘give me money'” This was one of the early countries where America practiced its now world-wide method of development assistance/dependency creation, many Americans, some I know, continue to patronizingly send money to strangers in the Philippines, augmenting the pattern. A Filipino once said to me, “oh, Americans  – money for anything…”

Not that the country doesn’t have its advantages, and no I’m not referring to the girls and didn’t have a Filipina girlfriend, and no I’m not gay, but it was a good place to work on the boat. Within a few days of arriving at Carmen my old professional boatbuilder friend Mike Allen offered me a place for Manulele on the beach in front of his property and access to electricity and even the use of a small native style house. Plus a reference to a local man who had long worked for him, mostly as a painter, and painting was what Manulele needed most, while I had about given up on doing it right myself. Wages in Philippines are so very low that this was actually within my sub-poverty budget even paying men what they asked – high end. After a while we added a helper, mostly to operate sandpaper eight hours/day, poor boy, who took even lower salary, which he referred to as dako pa, or  big already.  I worked with them too, so she had three men working on her full time for six months and got a thorough going over. We sanded off every drop of the old hopelessly mildewed and molded paint and sprayed on epoxy primer and epoxy urethane finish paint, well proven products that are unbelievably economical there.  Mike Allen was no less than a rescuing hero.

There was also trouble right from the start. The neighboring 50’ pump boat had been tied up to damage Manulele by denting her with its pointed crossarm ends, and the owner refused to cooperate, by simply tying her off right, instead removing such lines and stating that he didn’t care if his boat damaged mine. After weeks of using stakes to fend the attacker off and having him respond to me with consistent, baseless, hostility, I finally moved Manulele over to the other side of some mangrove trees where the pumpboat couldn’t reach. OK, you win.

Partly disassembled Manulele on the beach with the offending pumpboat to the right during a short time when Mike had convinced the perpetrator to desist in his attacks. After hostilities resumed I moved to the left of the clump of trees. Painter can be seen at work.

Then one night this same bully cut my anchor lines followed the next day by his brother (who never spoke to me) approaching me and demanding, “what’s your problem” to which I answered, “Why did you cut my anchor lines?” He then came into my space and pushed me lightly on the chest which, seeing as he was still in my space, I returned just the same and, since his action was a clear physical challenge, I put my fists up in anticipation of the fight which I had accepted. I’ve heard many times from people of color that white people will never defend themselves being cowards. So my response floored the bully, his jaw dropped and his eyes showed white around while he made extenuations and threatened to report me to the village council (correctly counting on brotherly support no matter what), although after recovering he resumed belligerent. So later I put a light up over Manu on an extension cord from the cottage, where I’d been staying, and I moved back on board for sleeping always with a stout club at hand. Additionally I hired a baranguy tanod or village policeman, to stand watch from the cottage all night for a couple weeks. In short, unlike in the past, I defended myself.

Night after night, from the cottage, I heard the hostile neighbors, who lived behind, talking about me, knowing much of the language. “old americanos marry teen age filipinas” “hah! Yai, yai yai! Why he – Hah!” “yeah Hah! He – you know” “Nobody treats my brother like that, I’ll do him!”Yai, yai, yai! “He’s just a foreigner –  he has no right’s here!” “Yeah, that’s right! Everybody hates foreigners, lets do him!” “The americano doesn’t pay enough[false], yai, yai yai, yai!” “go ahead I’m with you all the way, lets go do him now! yai, yai, yai” He thinks he’s so good. We’ll get machine guns and take care of him” “yeah and every other americano!”, yai, yai, yai, yai!!!” Like a pack of hyenas. On one occasion they got drunk enough to come out on the sidewalk and jumped up on the fence shouting threats at me on the balcony but not daring to enter Mike Allen’s compound. Another time the women, who were the ones to eventually tone them down, ridiculed the idiots, “He’s just laughing at you, ha ha.” The men stomped out on the sidewalk and gazed at me surreptitiously, “kataua siya? (Is he laughing?) No he’s not laughing,” And they slink away. After a couple months of this the main trouble maker, came out on the sidewalk in front of my balcony one night and commenced talking quietly at right angles to me in bisaya. Nobody else around. In the end he said “hurot na” meaning its all out. Then he walked humbly away, and there really wasn’t any more trouble after that.

By the time the main painting was done I was feeling rather well about having six hands to work with instead of the usual two, so we continued on building and modifying everything that had been on my wish list for years. I generally did the enjoyable creative building and then the guys did the messy frustrating poisonous fiberglassing, under demanding supervision since sheathing which is not meticulous is worse than none, and the painting which was almost entirely on them. In fact I stayed well away from the poisonous fumes while they drifted happily over the neighbors huts. We made all these changes:

  • Fill to make hatch cover seals fit perfectly eliminating leaks.
  • Extend rudders reducing trailing edge from quarter to eight inch eliminating hum.
  • Renovate small battered canoe.
  • Repair rot and glass around edges of washboards.
  • Glass cockpit grate.
  • Install rudder house bracket.
  • Finish glassing platform frames and side decks made at Kapingamaragi.
  • Make rudder doors and solid part in aft platform.
  • Glue doubler onto big main yard to stiffen it.
  • Reduce length of spars to fit, webbing cap on sail tops, proper downhauls.
  • Bigger brailling cleats.
  • Remove and alter mounting blocks on beams.
  • Fill sockets to make new beams fit and replace rubber linings.
  • Reinforce and glass proa outrigger risers.
  • Make box hatch covers.
  • Fit and round mainmast bottom and glass mast.
  • Make platform extensions beyond the hulls.
  • Make mainsail control lines bench.
  • White epoxy boot stripe paint with ocher line.
  • New and improved proa.

proa on deck

Seen here are the deck box with new hatch covers and a firewood chopping area in the middle, the side decks with sliding doors for the rudders, and the new proa housed for sea across the aft decks. An 18′ footer is a substantial craft to haul on a yacht but it fits unobtrusively on its side because its so narrow.

All of these changes have been successful except the rubber beam socket liners came off again. We consumed about ten gallons of epoxy and thirty gallons of paint, incredible that this is.

When we dug into the proa we found extensive rot so I gave it to Eddy the painter and made a new one. I enjoyed sailing the first one finding the proa concept, swapping bow and stern, shunting instead of tacking, very effective, so built a real proa this time, such as Micronesians use.

proa overview

Drawings of Marianas proas made by early explorers. Sail incorrectly shown.

Comparing the local canoes to my own at Kapingamarangi, I came to see that their way making the canoes extremely narrow and sitting on top instead of inside, is a higher performance way to configure a canoe. The new one is 18 feet long and only one foot wide maximum, and the hull is asymmetrical one side flat and the other curved, to resist leeway and track straight eliminating the weather helm which it would otherwise have.

proa over

The new proa. The windward side deck deflects spume and is easily removed for stowing.

I took the lines from historical drawings of Marianas flying proas which were reckoned by the early explorers who saw them to be the fastest sailboats on earth. Surprising everyone, with its bamboo and plastic tarp rig and speed, my replica’s a wonderful harbor toy and backup for the smaller canoe!

A wicked super typhoon named Ruby/Hagupit came headed straight for Carmen about this time and the boat was back together so I sailed across the shallow bay and between the stake fish traps into a stream in the mangrove where all was safe waiting two days for the typhoon to pass.

Awaiting the typhoon safe in the mangroves.

I discovered a neat sailing trick doing this. Ordinarily it is very risky to sail downwind into a channel too narrow to turn around in since sailboats can’t ordinarily stop and back up against the wind. My rudders are too deep to use in this very shallow bay so I sailed her across backwards without rudders which I’ve done before. What I didn’t know was that by backing the mainsail I could actually steer her accurately through a range of maybe 20 degrees either side of dead before, so I was able to weave between the fish traps through the narrow channels and a couple of times did indeed stop and reverse upwind which amounts simply to reverting to sailing close hauled which can also be done without rudders. Slick!

first back
Sailing Manulele backwards between yachts and fish traps, note the cool appearance of the new extension decks, and the ochar yellow line separating upper urethane topside paint from white epoxy enamal waterline paint.
Reversing, sailing forward clear of obstructions, with both rudders raised.
back again
Backing down again.
Upon finally leaving Carmen bound for Malaysia along the route I used repeatedly years ago on Peregrine, the wind was surprisingly fresh, perhaps 25k, south of Cebu, so I was pretty tired and considering where to stop and rest the second day. There was a fishing village I discovered and anchored at on Peregrine so I headed there. Only problem was it isn’t on the maps and the old map I had it marked on is long gone. After anchoring at what I thought was the place a drunk but friendly fisherman came over and asked me if I was looking for the place where all the yachts anchor. I told him no but showed him an old picture and asked if these people lived there and sure enough he said I’d found the place.


Hilfran and Evelyne cooking over three fires the exquisite dishes they serve up in their small restaurant.

My friends wined and dined me for days until one morning finding the northwesterly wind signaling an approaching typhoon. TV weather news confirmed that one was predicted to pass right through where I was, anchored on an open shore, so I made a quick escape to the local typhoon anchorage, where I laid out my two big thirty five pound storm anchors using most of the half kilometer of anchor rode Manulele carries, to get adequate scope in the deep water. This safety place filled up with hundreds of boats and ships of all kinds seeking shelter. A couple of the yachties came by but I stayed aboard the whole time.

As soon as the wind made its 180 degree turn I pulled up the anchors and made back to the village where I enjoyed New Years with my great Filipino friends of old.
Fish folk making a wide scoop net from bamboo.

I had to leave though since I had cleared out of the country long before. The passage to Borneo was mostly excessive wind enough to drag the tire drogue for a while, but, being dead before, unexpectedly fast. Four days winding through the coral reef strewn waters to make 400 miles, all very safe and careful. There is dramatically more traffic at sea than twenty years ago, several times more. So whereas before I could sail unmarked and asleep across long stretches of open ocean, now this is rarely prudent. Fortunately technology has also improved at cheaply lighting a boat at sea. I use screw in type 12V led bulbs that look like incandescent house bulbs in water tight enclosures for a bright white light when a ship is headed at me. All of the time I keep up the very cheap self contained fishing lights that have flashing colored leds with D-cells that all small craft in SE Asia use.

to kudat
The Route to Kudat staying north of the most pirate renowned southern part of the Sulu Sea.

Although Kudat has been described as a grungy little place I like it. Its virtually all market, and the harbor inside the bay inside the gulf is lined with hundreds of heavy wooden fishing ships dripping with local color. Surrounding are deeply forested hills.

While I was at Kudat a very unusual cruising boat arrived. It was about 25 ft not covered with expensive equipment, rust streaked and engine free. Sean, the single handed 28 year old American on board is the only other person I’ve ever met who strives to live without fossil fuel consumption. The most inspiring thing about this is that he was also one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met, one of the developers of OpenCPN, the navigation program that most navigators are now using, a guy who writes programs and makes electronic circuits just for the satisfaction, instead of concerning himself about a relative lack of money. So much for the wide-spread idea that intelligent and high tech mean getting rich in order to blow off the maximum of energy.


Sean with a battery charger he just knocked together, at Kudat.

From Kudat it was another 100 miles along the South China Sea coast of Borneo to Kota Kinabalu a real city,  exploding with “first world” development.

to kk

Route to Kota Kinabalu.


A fine sailing ground for the new proa.

The mostly Islamic Malay population of Malaysia is charming. Single girls wear stylish hairscarfs inside of which their happy relaxed friendly faces gleam. Little of the greed + racial stereotyping induced smart-ass attitude of so many Filipinos, who are the same race. Malaysians almost always are open, human, cheerful and say Hi, Hello, good morning, how are you, or something of the kind. What a relief!

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The End of the Pacific

mic to phils 1

Having become tired of waiting for nonexistent trade wind conditions I departed Yap with a tropical revolving storm (TRS, typhoon, hurricane, tropical storm, cyclone, depression, etc.) approaching, although one not deep enough to become a typhoon – according to the prediction…. This has been an extremely bad year for typhoons with no break all winter (the safe season) in the procession of TRS developing and passing through Micronesia. After beating out of the harbor, right in the pass there was a lull so that once again Manu Lele exited, with the ebb, scooting sideways over the ground : ). After a couple days reaching in light northerlies the wind went to the northwest, the gut-wrenching direction indicating approaching TRS in this region. There was only one night of shrieking wind though when I took down the mainsail, hove to and started to plan for the worst. By morning the conditions were much better and the wind kept going around to Westerly headwinds, SW as the depression passed, SE with blue skys back and then full circle to easterly trade wind conditions. The weather remained beautiful all the rest of the way until, within sight of the destination, a pattern of daylong calms and good sailing at night commenced. The small mainsail usually used in the Pacific was replaced with the big sail which has been used ever since.

There are three passages from the Pacific into the labyrinth of islands making up Philippines. Not wishing to repeat the middle Surigao Strait that I took 25 years ago I choose the southernmost Hinatuan Passage.

“Caution.-Hinatuan passage is not recommended for large vessels, low powered vessels, and sailing vessels—strong currents, heavy rips, and swirls are found throughout the passage.”

Sailing Directions Philippine Islands. United States Government

Nevertheless, also noted for beautiful scenery.
into phils B

Detail A

The first anchorage just west of Lajanosa was a poor choice being offshore and not well sheltered but I felt satisfied and unhurried to reenter human society. The first pinch-point of the dreaded strait was unremarkable, accomplished at slack water, between tidal currents. Rounding the SW corner of Bucas Grande Island however a beautiful village under rare protected forest land opened out. This turned out to be the result of a well known tourist resort but still a pleasant sight just before sunset.

From there I sailed most of the way to the more infamous second part of the strait south of Dinagat Island then hove to for the rest of the night in the open water to sleep without risking shipwrecking.
into phils 53

Detail B

In the morning 1. I sailed to the second pinch point of the passage. Right where the pass narrows 2. I broad reached back and forth against the ebbing tide unable to progress. This was intentional. When the tide reduced, beginning to turn, I was able to get through, 3. at the earliest moment and get as far as possible before the flood tide became strong. At Rasa Island 4. the swirls and upwellings were so intense that the sea had fixed vertical contours, not waves but bumps, ridges and valleys. But it wasn’t dangerous, I just sailed on through it all, and, having negotiated the not so dangerous passage without worry, made close hauled toward the beautiful islands to the north to try to anchor before dark. The sun set just as I tacked close to shore 5. and beat to where a shallow bar is shown. In the dark moonless night I lowered the anchor where the shoal should have been but there was no bottom at 100ft. A look at the gps showed that the flooding current had taken an unexpected direction (blue arrows on detail B) sweeping Manu Lele past the bar and into very restricted waters, with hazards close by on every side, and where I could see nothing 6. – now THIS was dangerous! About face and make for open water. Just barely, Manu Lele was able to run against the current back out of this hole, taking 2 hours at 5 knots to make a half mile, then past several islands and into open water 7. where she stood hove to all night drifting safely SW with the tide while I slept off the adrenaline spike.

The next day after the calm and lunch I sailed close hauled to the north and, after dark, West, as shown on detail A, in toward a large bay in Bohol Island where an expanse of shallow water extends far offshore. Sailing in toward shore in the dark night there appeared to be a scattering of lights ashore but these lonely yellow lights nodded silently by like ghosts and turned out to be simple lanterns floating cleverly on Styrofoam blocks as some kind of fish attractors. Sailing toward shore at night is always delicate so I was happy to set an anchor about a mile out at 2 AM and sleep.

At every stop I work on the boat and when heavy into passage making the rigging takes precedence mostly making improvements so it all works as smoothly as possible. For example to quickly join lines together I’ve been using what are traditionally called toggles, wood sticks that join to loops, but better yet are disks which are essentially big buttons. These are cut of plywood with a hole saw and, like all wood, glassed and painted white.


Another problem were the sail covers which are relatively huge covering altogether some 90 linear feet of sails on their long spars, requiring over an hour to tie on. After long resistance I’ve finally tried making these as tubes that slip on like socks and this is a big improvement. Manu Lele is very handy.

The next day, sailing nicely past a village on Tugas Point, when entering the current concentrated there Manu Lele was still sailing well but, clearly from landmarks ashore, commenced proceeding backwards over the ground. So I took a couple of turns then anchored right at the village to finally enjoy the exuberant greeting of the locals. This is a place yachties wouldn’t think of being unprotected on three sides, so remains blessedly unspoiled.


Already I was riding on the back of a motorcycle to fiesta and cockfight.


After a week and a half enjoying Tugas I had all ready to weigh the last anchor and be on my way but stepped backwards on the corroded to a serrated knife edge of another anchor that cut a half inch into my heel. Blood on the decks. After hours of direct pressure it was still oozing, missed the tide, so departure had to wait a day. Once going it was paradise sailing past the packed villages on reef islands north of Bohol then out into the more open sea between there and Carmen, Cebu.

to carmen

Hove to and slept off shore then sailed into Carmen Bay the next day. It seems that yachts nowadays pack into a couple of marinas (one in South Carmen Bay) and rarely anchor in places like North Carmen Bay by Carmen Town, where I found my way through the fish traps. Lowering the anchor I was surprised to find only about five feet at high tide so launched the canoe and took the sounding lead on an expedition to plot the contour nearby. Sure enough I was on a shallow ridge so sailed a hundred meters further over and anchored right. The yachties choose well finding the restaurants and yachtie friends they prefer, while numbers of the locals here are hostile to Caucasians unlike at Tugas. And there is thieving so the security of a marina means something especially for ordinary yachts which are designed primarily for ostentation. I doubt whether the smart ass racial comment “Hey Joe, give me ….” was heard as often in 1948 as it is today in this urban area. The obsession Filipinos have over the vast wealth of white people was intense 20 years ago but has grown greatly since. Now its rare for a Filipino to speak to me except in reference to my supposed wealth. For example when I take out the zip lock bag I use for a wallet the clerk says, “ Oh! Much money!” when there is about $1.50 in the bag. Its a constant oppressive weight. And white people are consistently called Americano based solely on race, so goes to show just because a concept is universally accepted within a culture doesn’t mean it isn’t obviously incorrect; should be a lesson for everyone. Nevertheless 750ml of Tanduay Dark is $2, the girls smile, and all is well. Not much has really changed in the Philippines.

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Tiny Islands – Through Western Micronesia

 The many small atolls like Kapingamarangi which I’ve visited before have inspired me. They are rings of coral surrounding lagoons 2 – 20 miles across. the islands started as sand spits on the ring of coral reef, but were inhabited by islanders 1000 – 2000 years ago who brought plants and animals and created lovely exotic manmade environments.


They are simple, clear, bright and vividly colorful, in short – paradisiacal, but I’d never stayed at one for more than a month and wanted to in order to get to know the people and life better. This is what I did at Kapinga, where I stayed from November 2013 until April 2014, with the 200 some Polynesian inhabitants, out of the range of TV, motorized transportation, the internet and even radio other than shortwave, although there were difficulties.


Pohnpei to Kapinga to Yap

Pohnpei to Kapinga to Yap

The passage there from Pohnpei, was fine, although a hook that is part of the steering system broke due to a long standing crack initiating rot. This was easily repaired at the island. I arrived late in the afternoon so continued to the side where the pass through the barrier reef is then set the boat fore-reaching slowly away from shore, checking position, direction and speed with the gps. I now navigate on a small netbook computer using free digital charts, free software (opencpn) and a $30 gps module that plugs into usb. Many people imagine that I might navigate in a less technological way based on the boat, but this is out of misunderstanding of what I’m doing. The Polynesian boat without engine is fully practical. Her unusual features make her a sailboat of high real-world sailing performance, sea-worthiness, and economy, while doing without an engine is just realizing the cruising under sail dream instead of faking it. On the other hand there is no practical justification for avoiding gps; its cheap and so much easier and more accurate than the alternatives that there is no comparison. I have hand held gps as well as a cheap sextant and sight reduction tables as backups.

In the morning it was easy sailing in with the flood tide through the pass and coral heads could be vividly seen as usual from perhaps a half mile away. I did take a secondary shallow leg of the pass to avoid the windward main route, which a keelboat could not do. The island was immediately impressive with its many thatched boathouses lining the lagoon and small stilt houses over the sea, a rare beautiful traditional appearance.


One of the negatives was also immediately obvious, another yacht was there. This path is beaten. There was a parade of yachts stopping all winter and they have a bad effect on a small village like this. Especially the Germans but to some degree all yachties firehose villages with presents. One had collected donations especially in order to do this and set up what they called a “market” where they sold $100 Casio watches for ten dollars and the like, fancying themselves “island traders”. They go to one of the last places on earth to be ruined by consumerism and instead of availing themselves of the hard won opportunity to observe something exceptional, they teach consumerism! One of the last places on earth where people sail canoes and instead of observing this precious technology, they proudly give these self-sufficient people rides in their ubiquitous $10,000 rubber speedboats!  This disrespectful behavior warps the attitude of the islanders toward all Caucasians. The children followed me around saying “money” as in “white people are money”. A couple of kids, for example, examined my humble self-built canoe saying “money, this is money”. Another distasteful fantasy yachties universally have is that they have technical skills to share. It is rare to find an islander without more technical skills than typical yachties, who have nothing on board they made themselves, but islanders will often encourage yachties to try to do their work for them, and behind their backs say, “they can’t do anything but they have lots of money”. Nevertheless the Kapinga people are not yet completely converted to greed but are pulled both ways. Many are still hospitable, friendly and helpful. A teacher friend, Kiosi, told his class,”everything from the ship makes us sick”

Illustration 2: Kiosi


A cargo / passenger ship comes about three times a year from Pohnpei and when I was there one came bringing red eye and the flu which I caught along with all the islanders. And then every single yachtie walks the island giving away cigarettes to the men and candy to the women and children, where neither dentists nor toothbrushes exist. One yachtie gave away toothbrushes. Later that day a 14 year old was using a toothbrush to clean my canoe bottom for fun. Kiosi of course also meant that more broadly including petroleum, tin roofing, sugar, etc. So they are not entirely without insight. Kiosi also asked his class whether they admired more myself with my healthy, self-sufficient ways, “who cares about us”, or the other yachties with their speed boats, noisy generators, machines that do everything for them like make coffee, etc. and who are never seen to work. The students were adamant that they wish they could be like any palangi except Glenn who works way too much – of course.



After replacing the crossbeams at Pohnpei I had started replacing the platform, the decking between the hulls over the water, which had also rotted. Bamboo continues to have an appeal for this decking such that its worth working at. One key is it requires a lot of framing most of which I made at Pohnpei. My main job at Kapinga was to glass and epoxy this framing and make the rest of it. All wood exposed to the equatorial weather must be either glassed or frequently replaced. But first I made an awning in order to gain some shade on deck.

Illustration 3: Half awning in use under sail


This is much like the awning/tent that Peregrine had which swings up from the sides meeting in the middle so that the windward half can be used at sea in easy conditions. Then a man who knew me from Pohnpei offered me the use of the upper floor of his house to do my work in, a godsend.

Illustration 4: Grating Taro Before My Upper Story Work Place


By the time I was ready to do epoxy work the weather had become awful. There are often stormy Westerly winds there November to December which make the anchorage a dangerous leeshore. This year for the first time in living memory these conditions lasted all winter right up until the day I left in March. And the holding ground where boats anchor is very poor as well, small ruble and small fragile coral that won’t hold an anchor. The first month there I moved Manu Lele three times and dove on the anchors daily trying to get her secure. I finally found a spot where I put out four anchors in different directions each hand placed behind an immovable large coral head and in one case a large slab of concrete debris. This saved the boat as month after month the waves built by thirty five knot winds across the long fetch of the lagoon had her pointing for the sky then crashing into the troughs. Some days I couldn’t get to shore. The other boats would drag a couple hundred feet then start their engines and move back out to re-anchor and start over, an option I don’t have. Almost everyday I was still able to work in my friend’s house and when needing to use my bigger power tools, which the inverter on board can’t handle, I was permitted to use the electricity at the school, a huge solar power installation given by the EU, along with one at the clinic.

All this sounds pretty bad and it was, but the kapingi people have parties almost everyday and invite any foreigners, so there were these frequent enjoyments. I was often invited to eat and appreciated the delicious exotic food, culminating in the yearly feast on eel at taro day just before I left.


Illustration 5: Preparing eel the night before the party


Illustration 6: Eel traps made of pvc pipe


Illustration 7: Eel on right, grated taro with coconut on left both baked in earth oven.


On the other hand getting food to eat on board and bring with me for the next passage was very difficult. There was no store at all to buy even the most basic food. Just after arriving I asked the chief (an elected official, more of a mayor) if I might break tradition and buy local food in order to obtain a steady supply but he said no the people like to give foreigners food since it costs them nothing. Perhaps they have no experience with a foreigner who wants to have local food to cook himself. After all few Caucasians will ever eat things like taro and breadfruit which they are unfamiliar with. Eventually I put around the offer of twenty dollars for a supply of fermented breadfruit, a traditional canoe voyaging food still made there, for my passage and got that arranged. This ended up a case where I was tricked out of the money and given almost no fermented breadfruit in return – greed won out. When I arrived the chief told me that if I wanted coconuts I could get them at the island farthest away across the lagoon, even though the home island was covered with coconuts and at every high tide they drifted out to sea, from where I collected them. An odd contradiction when the chief often gave me fish when coming back from the sea. On the way to the pass, en route to Yap, I stopped for the night at that farthest away island and picked up a load of all three kinds of coconuts, green drinking nuts, brown mature nuts for coconut cream, and sprouting nuts, which I expected to rely on to survive the passage. Very luckily another yacht came by and gave me a large quantity of delicacies of the Caucasian type like olives and cheese so I eat especially well enroute to yap.

Illustration 8: Looking toward the pass and the coconut island


When I tried to pull the anchor up after one night at the little coconut island, it was stuck in the coral 60 feet deep. I could see it and just about swim down to it but to make it easier I hooked a grapnel on and pulled it out that way. With the pass only about a mile away there was so little air that I sailed all day. And then the sky became white making the water opaque so it was hard to make out where the channel was exactly. The current ended up sweeping Manu lele through while she was almost stopped in the water – racing along sideways. The first two days very light headwinds prevailed but at about three degrees latitude this wind died then, after a brief calm, the easterly tradewinds commenced and ran me downwind the rest of the way, lovely sailing, 1000 miles to Yap Island The best thing to happen en route might be interesting to some of the sailors, an improvement in sheet to tiller self steering. A difficulty with this method has always been that its too sensitive to changes in wind strength. Instead of bungee cord I used a line off the mizzen sheet to oppose the pull of the main sheet on the tiller and this made the course almost independent of wind speed. Sounds obscure but of the utmost importance to me.

Illustration 9: Red line from mizzen to tiller


Yap has changed greatly from 25 years ago. It is now developed for tourists, with hotels, boutique style restaurants, gift shops and phony cultural displays all around town. It still served its function for me though as a place to provision and wait for good weather, on the way to Asia, and the people are still exceptionally friendly. Manu Lele made quite a sensation here dozens of people stopping me on the street to ask if she isn’t dangerous, and express their respect. Although they still identify strongly with sailing canoes they gave them up to ride motorboats because, I guess, they think sailing canoes are dangerous. Then again sailing IS dangerous for the average coddled know-nothing trying to be reckless whereas any ten year old can sit in a motorboat.

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Development Assistance Harms All Except the World’s Richest

INTRODUCTION The only beneficiaries of development assistance in the Pacific are transnational corporations. Taxpayers in the donor countries pay for development aid directly of course but pay in important indirect ways as well. The islanders suffer being tricked from resort-like paradise into squalor. Transnational corporations, primarily big oil and big agriculture companies, but others as well, receive the money in the end.

DONORS The vast majority of citizens of the donor nations lose not only money, but the integrity of their values and the benefits of global cultural diversity, with almost nothing to compensate for these losses.  These donor nations are primarily the USA in Micronesia, France in the whole eastern South Pacific as well as New Caledonia, New Zealand in the Central South Pacific especially the Cook Islands Niue and Tokelau, and Australia in Melanesia. The European Union, Japan, Taiwan and China also distribute aid over the area, so although this essay is focused on US aid to The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), via the Compact of Free Association, the issue is wider. In all, the amount of aid per capita in the Pacific is much higher than any other region in the world1.(please read the footnotes at the end of the essay for evidence)

Assistance takes the form of both financial support and encouraging economic migration. Migration is supported both by US immigration law, which doesn’t limit or regulate migration from FSM, and by the creation of consumer desires which motivates migration. One third of all Micronesians live in the USA mostly in Guam and Hawaii. The US federal government pays Guam and Hawaii specifically for the costs of hosting Micronesian immigrants and both are forcefully demanding more of this compensation largely to pay the high cost of housing Micronesians in correctional institutions2. So it is difficult to claim that these migrants are a net benefit to the US.

The greatest loss to America as a result of aid is in the hypocritical defiance of widely held and stated values. The missionaries of a hundred years ago are almost universally disdained as destroyers of exotic cultures3 but they were harmless compared to today’s aid givers who have the same missionary goal of bestowing the benefits of a supposedly superior culture. Before, the key feature of superior culture was considered to be Christianity, now it’s identified as economic development – money and consumerism4, a judgement no less subjective and ethnocentric. Unlike the missionaries of a hundred years ago, today’s mission is self-righteously annihilating cultures down to the means of sustenance replacing independent self-sufficiency with dependent consumerism, and depopulating entire islands and communities moving the populations into urban slum areas practicing mainstream urban culture5. For America to do this is the abnegation of clearly stated values and the loss of the integrity of doing what one says one believes. Likewise few Americans wish for empire and would scoff at equating charity with imperialism but when a people’s culture is utterly eliminated and replaced with dependency on foreign aid and imported products this is an extreme form of “cultural imperialism”, and again represents hypocrisy.

Before assistance

The global loss of cultural diversity is a loss to the donor countries. Multiculturalism within one country is a different issue from global cultural diversity. The United Nations has stated that cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature6. A diversity of cultures allows curious people to experience entirely different worldviews to their mind opening benefit. Alternative life style communities, which some of us prefer to the over-consumer life7, cease to exist with the homogenization of world culture. Humanity is losing the textures which tourists seek. The donor countries are even coming close to committing international crime8 by intentionally destroying cultural diversity.

After assistance

Donor countries are also harming themselves through foreign aid since, by financing others to overconsume, resources are used up the faster.9 Contrarily, if a significant part of humanity was to wake up to the quality of life improvements possible in a cooperative post-industrial, post-consumer, economy, then traditional Pacific Islands culture could be a valuable highly evolved model.

Possible benefits to America from heavily supporting FSM have been suggested. Military basing is often proposed but implausible. Micronesia has no significant or belligerent countries within a thousand miles. While there is zero American military personnel or infrastructure within FSM there are American soldiers based all around the West and North of FSM at Guam, Kwajalein, Australia, Philippines, S Korea and Japan, plus abandoned bases at Johnson Atoll and other Pacific islands. To be clear, these real bases, along with the heavily Americanized and supported Palau, are between FSM and the potential belligerents China and N Korea. To the South and East of FSM are only small island nations and the allies France and New Zealand for seven thousand miles.  Exclusion of China from FSM is the most favored rational for American involvment. China already donates heavily here so is not excluded in that sense. Chinese military bases?  China has no foreign military bases at all not even in unamericanized island countries such as Kiribati and Vanuatu. Maybe if all the islanders leave or are bought off then snazzy beach resorts could be built on the atolls, not for me but for more ordinary rich consumer Americans? There are failed and empty beach resorts all over the tropics, including Micronesia.  Anyway if the US had a special secret plan for Micronesia it would not explain why the rest of the Pacific Island Nations receive disproportionate aid as well, even less significant Tuvalu being third most patronized in the world.

America gains in only one way from its project in Micronesia. That is by spreading, in a small way, its guilt for over consumption. For example, when Tuvalu or another small island nation complains eloquently, as it does, about having its nation submerged through excessive fossil fuel consumption, one photo of its capital Funafuti with a hundred overpowered speedboats lined up on its beaches is an effective counter argument.

“It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” — Bertrand Russell

ISLANDER RECIPIENTS Islanders lose their entire cultural identity to development assistance including all of their cultural goods, services and activities, independence, quality of life, healthy values and, worst of all, they lose their self-esteem.

Development assistance in the Pacific isn’t doing anything like feeding the hungry or providing safe drinking water. Pacific islanders traditionally exist in a setting of great plenty10. Aid also does not result in the development of exports or foreign exchange. On the contrary, in Pohnpei; which is jammed tight with the SUVs of foreign development specialists, missionaries, volunteers and NGOs; exports and tourism have both declined during the years of steadily increasing aid11. Aid pays the salaries of government office holders in a very bloated buracracy12. The office holders distribute the bounty through the domestic service economy, mainly retailing, and it goes to purchase cars, motorboats, fuel, imported food, tin roofing and other consumer items.

It is often said by foriegners that islanders choose the modern consumer life but this is incorrect. Micronesians are offered a distorted choice of tradition, spending a couple of hours per day in gardening, fishing and handicrafts; or “the modern way”, working even less, taking money for nothing, and buying what they need13. This is a trick and when faced with the reality of life in the less subsidised consumer world of America the islanders do not, as a whole, adapt well14, 2, 5. Opportunities to become educated and productive in non-traditional ways abound in Micronesia but are rarely availed15. A tiny minority choose to work hard and live a more modern industrial life, like my friends, Faletiute’s sons in Funafuti, and clearing away the distraction of easy dependency improves the outlook for this few16. Most islanders however will accept a handout and dependency but not the high production forty hour work week, and why should they?. Evidence for the rejection of the work-a-day life by islanders is in the consistent failure of enterprises17 as well as in the refusal to learn non traditional subjects.

Before assistance

The unambitious can live a far more beautiful, enjoyable, healthy and efficient life traditionally than by being “lifted out of poverty” into the urban squalor and neurosis of dependency, and this correction can be easily achieved. When money for nothing is unavailable the great majority of islanders live the traditional leisurely subsistence affluent life retaining their culture18. Preservation of Pacific culture preserves the quality of life and self-esteem of pacific islanders. The Pacific islands were glorified for centuries by Europeans as paradise and they should be still19. With much leisure time islanders evolved a life of highly refined social graces and pleasures, including the famous drumming and dancing such as hula, and emphasising cooperation, generosity and hospitality as sources of honor and pride. Inflexibly ethnocentric, brainwashed foreigners arrive with the assumption that the islanders’ culture is so inferior that they would die without the white man’s handouts20. An incredibly ignorant, racist21 and insulting presumption but virtually universal. The islanders with their emphasis on indolence and tolerance accept the handouts and insults and even play along22, until the game of seeing what they can get out of the insulting white man becomes habitual.  A culture based on producing what is needed changes into one that is shaped around living off and exploiting foreigners. Taking the place of cooperation is competition. Taking the place of hospitality is begging and demanding23. Taking the place of pride is low self-esteem. Taking the place of Pacific culture is ghetto culture.

After assistance

BENEFICIERIES Transnational corporations gain. Instead of making and doing things islanders who have been “lifted out of poverty” buy things. Instead of cool breezy thatched houses like the rich tourists get in Bora Bora, less comfortable (frequently said by islanders) houses are made of purchased high energy unfinished concrete block, plywood and metal roofing. Instead of walking barefoot on beaches islanders sit idly behind the wheel in traffic jambs burning petroleum and feeling modern. Instead of skillfully building and sailing sleek technically exquisite outrigger canoes they ride passively in clumsy overpowered fiberglass motorboats sold by Yamaha. Instead of eating healthy fresh local food they eat unhealthy imported processed food sold by Archer Daniels Midlands (ADM feeding the world), Kellogs, General Mills etc. There are epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and noncommunicable diseases throughout the pacific24.  A market has been developed for the transnational corporations which runs on development assistance, soaks up tax dollars from donor countries and augments urban blight there while wrecking the lives of less industrialized people. More important than the small number of additional customers gained, the corporations win by eliminating the threatening example of a free and independent, happy, healthy, non-consumer lifestyle.

CONCLUSIONS Development aid should be opposed by liberals especially. Having followed the money, we can see why development assistance exists. But why do ordinary liberal Americans favor sending money to affluent satisfied Islanders driving around in expensive cars and powerful speedboats? The missing link is the dominance of big business in the media. Much of the media, including TV and the internet, is financed entirely by marketing, which is in the programing as well as in the blatant advertising.  The reason so much money is spent on marketing is because it works. And there is constant messaging framing subsistence as the desperate hopeless filthy starving etc. (including by Hollywood stars furthering the liberality hoax). This is the mechanism of big money brainwashing.

Before aid

Superficially, aid consists of money given by the rich white people to the poor people of color, consistent with liberal values. But fairly evaluating a policy requires considering the consequences of the policy. The consequences of aid are the destruction of cultural diversity in the course of the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the most wealthy. A conservative might favor this process but a liberal who understands it will oppose it adamantly.

Some guidelines for visitors to unruined subsistence affluent islands for reducing harmful influence.

  • Don’t ever give money for nothing or virtually nothing. There is a sign for tourists on an often visited island requesting, “Please don’t give ‘tips’ to the children. We don’t want them to develop bad habits”
  •  Read in public to set an example. Literacy is the real way to grow and become modern in the best sense.
  • Work in public. I got this idea from an African studies textbook which had a picture of a white man in a litter carried by a dozen “natives”. Is this the way to success? Any physical activity like walking, rowing, swimming helps to correct the stereotypes of people from over-industrialized countries, is rarely seen, and healthier anyway
  • Show an interest in local cultures and try to learn. If you are uninterested in a culture, don’t go there. Most yachties express disdain for island cultures. They should go only to the tourist boutique resort areas that they can enjoy.
  •  Forget the idea that you should teach everyone and help everyone to be like your own exceptional self. The evangelical over-consumer countries have created global resource depletion, environmental catastrophes, economic bubbles, and cultural annihilation. You could learn from less harmful people how to live with quiet grace.

Notes: The Kaselelia Press is the FSM newspaper. The word means “hello” in the Pohnpein language.

Francis X Hezel, a Jesuit Priest, was a foremost expert on Micronesia and founder of the Micronesian Seminar, an academic center in Pohnpei.

1.” Today, as in the past, Pacific Island nations receive more aid per capita than any other region in the world Campbell, I.C. 1992. A Historical Perspective on Aid and Dependency.” Pacific Studies 15 (3):59

Total and per capita aid flows by region

Total aid flows Average annual aid flows
1970-1999 per capita 1995-1999
US 1998 million dollars US 1998 dollars
Sub-Saharan Africa 416.600 22
India 85,000 2
Other South-Asia 137,800 9
China 41,200 2
Pacific 49,300 220
Other East Asia 152,600 8
Caribbean 45,100 34
Latin America 111,700 10
Middle East and North Africa 282,600 15

Source: The Development Assistance Committee, Development Co-operation Reports, 1971 -2000, OECD Paris.

Astonished, I found more detailed, current data. In 2010 the top five receivers of official developement assistance were all paradisiacal small island nations, (in current US dollars / capita)

Top Aid Real Poor
Recievers Countries
Mayotte 2960 Madagascar 23
Marshall Is 1677 Sudan 47
Tuvalu 1356 Bangladesh 10
Palau 1285 Haiti(after earthquake) 308
FSM 1128 Philippines 6

The world Bank.

2. Washington, D.C.  – The Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Tony Babauta, has authorized $3.5 million in Compact Impact grant funding to support the Guam Department of Corrections’ (DOC) efforts to offset the cost of providing inmate housing to Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants. “I am pleased to be assisting the Department of Corrections in supplementing their existing budget.   The Calvo Administration, as well as members of the Guam Legislature, have raised the challenges confronting the Department, given the facility’s population of freely associated state citizens… Kaselelia Press April 17, 2012

3. The “prime directive” on “Star Trek” was noninterference with less technologically advanced civilizations so that development can occur naturally and internally. The show’s creator stated that this was a reaction to the harm caused by missionaries in the real world. A long forgotten commitment. “Prime Directive” Wikipedia

4. Exhibiting the unquestioned determination to convert all people to supposedly superior consumer culture is socially required use of the terms “developed countries”(a completed ideal) and “developing countries”(striving to become the ideal) to refer to consumer cultures and independent cultures respectively.

5. Urban culture, or ghetto culture, doesn’t only exist in urban areas. Although associated with young minorities in industrialised countries it has spread through all races young and old around the world; the dominant, most influential culture in the world. It is connected to dependency and characteristics include decayed housing but ostentatious consumer goods, rap, gang signs, wearing caps backwards and slack pants, exaggeratedly offensive language, tagging, crime, drugs, etc.

The connection between cultural destruction and crime in South Africa was a theme of “Cry the Beloved Country”, which is read in American High Schools: “The white man has broken the tribe. And it is my belief—and again I ask your pardon—that it cannot be mended again. But the house that is broken, and the man that falls apart when the house is broken, these are the tragic things. That is why children break the law, and old white people are robbed and beaten.” [remember – I’ve been robbed and beaten during this post-development Pacific cruise]

” Explanation for this quotation: Msimangu explains to Kumalo what he believes has gone wrong with their country: the tribal bonds have been broken, giving young men and women no reason to stay in their villages. These youths then go to Johannesburg, where they inevitably lose their way and become morally corrupt. Msimangu is very explicit about the cause-and-effect relationship that he perceives between the deterioration of black culture and crime against whites. As such, he expresses the novel’s central preoccupation with the matter of tribal structure and its important role in holding the country’s black population together.”

6. The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity is a declaration adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its thirty-first session on 2 November 2001[1]   This Declaration is constituted by 12 Articles; Article 1 titled “Cultural diversity, the common heritage of humanity” states that “As a source of exchange, innovation and creativity, cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for the nature. In this sense, it is the common heritage of humanity and should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations.”

7. There is a scattering of other white people who have migrated to the more leisurely and peaceful life of the traditional Pacific. I met a Frenchman doing nothing but cutting copra in the Marquesas. An American enjoyed his last years living in a hut on remote Butaritari in Kiribati fishing for dinner in front of this hut. An Australian couple raised their children on remote Kapingamarangi in FSM living on their boat.

8. Article 7 of a 1994 draft of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples uses the phrase “cultural genocide” but does not define what it means. The complete article reads as follows:  Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to ethnocide and cultural genocide, including prevention of and redress for: (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities; (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources; (c) Any form of population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights; (d) Any form of assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures; (e) Any form of propaganda directed against them.

9. “Human society is in a ‘global overshoot’, consuming 30% more material than is sustainable from the world’s resources.”

10. “Due to the munificence of nature, development economist E. K. Fisk noted in 1982 that families in the Pacific can produce all that they can consume and provide for other needs with only a few man hours a day. This is what is meant by subsistence affluence…” Fisk, E. K. 1982. “Subsistence Affluence and Development Policy.” Regional Development Dialogue, Special Issue. Nagoya, Japan: UN Centre for Regional Development. FSM

11. “If the trade imbalance is used as an indicator, the economic situation in these two small Micronesian nations[FSM and Republic of the Marshall Islands RMI] has worsened over the past 40 years. As discussed above, imports began to outstrip exports in the early 1960s with the infusion of larger U.S. aid payments into the trust territory. Aid increased still more in the 1970s during the era of U.S. federal programs and infrastructure development, and it has risen still higher since national independence. The ratio of exports to imports was 3:1 in 1966, 4:1 in 1977, and is now 5:1 in the FSM and even higher in the RMI. These two countries are no more successful now than they ever were in finding ways to keep exports apace with their consumption from abroad. But then again, they are not compelled to, since grants account for such a large percentage of their national budget, and government spending keeps the wheels of the private sector turning.” Hezel, Francis X. S.J. “Is That the Best You Can Do? A Tale of Two Micronesian Economies.” Pacific Islands Policy, Vol.1, Honolulu: East-West Center, 2006.

12. There is a senator for each outer island of 100 – 500 persons.

Yacht clearence procedures here are far more complex involving twice the number of officials, as any of the many other countries I’ve been.

Office holders in Pohnpei do little but play Facebook and Solitaire on those rare occasions when they bother to even go to work. This has been told my by several office holders both locals and expats and also observed by me.

“Inappropriately swollen governments persist because they are funded by aid.” Hughes, H., 2003. “Aid has failed the Pacific”, Issue Analysis, No. 33, 7 May (Sydney, The Centre for Independent Studies).

13. Caucasians are seen the world over to “never work but have lots of money”, due to their heavy reliance on machinery, riding in taxis to laundromats and supermarkets to buy imported processed food. So money for nothing and inability to work is seen as the modern way, rather than the subsidised way. This has been personally stated to me by Filipinos, Latinos and Micronesians and also outlined in an African Studies textbook.

14. Americans don’t have to wait to be blamed by Micronesians for this crooked set-up. Pohnpei’s newspaper contains a letter to the editor about the large despised dysfunctional Micronesian slums in Guam and Hawaii. The author writes,”The fact of the matter is we didn’t ask to be here. We were invited. Uncle Sam … make us pathetically depended (sic) on him, and then invited us to come to America. So here we are! Whether you like it or not, that is your problem.” Kaselehlie Press 28 March 2012

15.“These test results represent not only a failing public school system but also ruined lives.  Most of the 2012 graduates of the public schools are facing lifetimes of limited choice and opportunity.  If this is not a national emergency, I don’t know what is,” exclaimed U.S. Ambassador to the FSM, Peter Prahar COMET Scores Paint a Bleak FSM Educational Portrait, Kaselehlie Press, May 3, 2012

16. There are lots of arguements about this subject on the site:

For example,

  • Tracking data from 1991 to 2007, there is no correlation between aid received (total in $US or as % of recipient GNI) and an increase in employment rates (age 15+). Link:
  • Tracking data from 1978 to 2008, there is no correlation between aid received (total in $US or as % of recipient GNI) and a decreased % of people in poverty (below $2 per day).

Two contrasting examples of aid negativity are China which, as a communist country, never received but the tiniest aid (see the table in #1 above) and Rwanda which in 1990-1993 was a darling of the development community, receiving increasing amounts of aid and foreign experts, almost until the date of its implosion.

“William Easterly [one of the two most recognized theorists, along with Jeffery sacks, on development economics] generally believes that aid has been poorly used and, along the way has even created debilitating incentives that produce dependency, economic stagnation, corruption, and regression. Global Poverty and International Development, Issue 5, October 2008

See also #11 and 23

17. “Projects by the dozen have been tried in the islands: commercial growth of crops like cacao, pepper, Philippine mahogany, and decorative plants; manufacture of coconut shell buttons, furniture, and zoris; processing of banana and breadfruit chips, pickled papaya, Pohnpeian sakau, and bottled soft drinks; cultivation of clams, sponges, tropical fish, milkfish, and seaweed; sale of wood products through lumbering and sawmill operations; garment manufacturing and ferro-cement boat-making. This is just the start of a list that might go on longer than the present essay, and it does not even mention the many attempts made to establish a viable fishing industry in the islands. There are would-be tourist hotels in every stage of decay on all the major islands in the FSM, and a few others on Majuro and one or two of the outer atolls of the Marshalls.” Hezel, Francis X. S.J. “Is That the Best You Can Do? A Tale of Two Micronesian Economies.” Pacific Islands Policy, Vol.1, Honolulu: East-West Center, 2006.

18.  When I asked a man at Pingalap what they will do when the compact funding ends he said they will live in the traditional way. I said to a Pohnpein man, who is an evanglical Christian and cultivates cucumbers for the domestic market, that Americans are just trying to practice christian charity and help. He said, “but making people dependent isn’t helping them.”

19.Dr Mohamad Mahathir, the former prime minister of Malaysia, and firebrand of the non-aligned movement, improbably claimed in his thesis that life on the islands and rivers of the Austronesian realm was so good and easy that the Malay evolved with inferior intelligence! This was to justify unlimited affirmative action for the Malay.

20. When Australia recently decided to slow the rate of increase in its foreign aid, radio Australia repeated every half hour that 200,000 people across the pacific would die as a result. Wouldn’t a starving person pick up one of the coconuts carpeting the islands and eat, not to mention all the breadfruit, taro, fish, the papayas fed to pigs, banana, etc. or maybe they will freeze to death?

21. A wide-spread belief among educated americans is that the best way to raise children is to give them little and force them to stand on their own two feet. These same people also believe in increasing foreign aid. There is apparently a difference between their own children’s and foreigner’s ability to stand own their own two feet – race. In American education this problem is called “low expectations” and is the standard accepted reason for poor academic outcomes among African-American students.

“It is indeed unwarranted and distasteful condescension to argue that the peoples of Eastern Europe or the third world, unlike those of the West, cannot achieve material progress without donations from abroad” Development aid : end it or mend it / Peter Bauer.(Occasional papers / International Center for Economic Growth ; no. 43) 1993

22. One rich smirking young local got in my face challenging me, “what did you come here to give us?” to which I answered, “I let you see me work”.

23. The once hospitable outer island Nukuoro has just instituted an “anchoring fee” as is becoming universal. This is not for anchoring which is done by the crew of the boat with its own equipment and consumes no local resources. It is simply money for nothing. Patronization does not result in reciprocation of giving but adoption of the American value, “greed is good” diametrically opposing island culture which focuses honor and pride on hospitality to visitors and generosity with what is plentiful. Demolishing the source of pride demolishes self-esteem.

24. “It would appear that changing lifestyle patterns during this age of affluence have been largely responsible for the increase in those non-communicable diseases that might be termed the “Big Three:” diabetes, heart problems and stroke. All three are linked with obesity, which has become a serious concern in the islands today. About 80 percent of the FSM citizens aged 35-54 screened in the survey tested as overweight” Hezel, Francis X. S.J. “Disease in Micronesia: A Historical Survey.” Pacific Health Dialogue 2010

About the photos – All were taken by myself. Most of the “before” ones at Nukufetau an atoll within Tuvalu, about 24 years ago. The exception is the house floating on taro leaves which was taken two years ago at Butaritari atoll, Kiribati. The “after” photos were taken this year at Kolonia, the one town of Pohnpei Island, FSM.

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