Monday, April 09, 2007

Random Musings

Today I turn 35, or as I like to call it, the 14th anniversary of my 21st birthday. I remember turning 30 like it was yesterday, and fretting about that, but now I'm closer to 40 than 30. I think you are taken a bit more serious post 30, so it hasn't been bad at all. I've got a lot of things at 35 I didn't have at 30: a wife, two kids, a graduate degree, six years experience as a teacher, an apartment with an oceanview and a greater wealth of life experiences. I'd like to get published in a major publication, put together a short standup routine and perform it in a comedy club and drop about 20 pounds, but all in all, I'm pretty pleased with life right now.

There are a few good signs about a change in political attitude that are very encouraging. The Democratic Party chairman came out in support of the increase in minimum wage. Jesse Santos from Kagman spoke out against the fight against the minimum wage. Tina Sablan's manifesto laid bare many points that needed to be made, and those people had island names, which I think helps. I'm optimistic somebody like Angelo, who is becoming a real island leader if he isn't already, is smart and social enough to improve this place dramatically.

I recently read the Tipping Point from Malcolm Gladwell, and the book is about how a small group, or even one person, can start a trend that has major implications. Part of this is the broken window theory of crime, used in New York, which says small violations of crime send a message of lawlessness that spreads to worse crime.

I can sense that the Beautify CNMI movement might tip, and the volunteers and the goals might spread rapidly. In fact, I've been so moved, I'm getting off my butt and I'll be helping out as well on the next clean up. I'm going to also find a way to enlist some students as well as my family. On the negative side, I was off island three weeks and went for a walk on the Oleai Beach Path and there is an enormous amount of graffitti in that area all of a sudden. Now that it is there, I would expect it to get worse unless it is cleaned up quickly. There are some people who are not getting the message.

I saw a similar group of hoodlums at the post office the other night trying to get money from the stamp machine, and generally hanging out inside there. I'm sure nothing good was on their minds. In addition, these kids were way too young to be left alone. Between the awful food selections, the messing around with fireworks at too young an age (one of my students lost use of his eye this way), the general lack of supervision and another awful phenomenon: parents discouraging and sometimes flat out preventing their high school graduate children from going off to college, I feel there is a lot of bad parenting in the CNMI. It is very hard for me not to call up the parents and lay into them when one of my seniors tells me mom or dad doesn't want them to go to college and won't let them leave the island. Yes, technically they can't stop them, but few 18 year olds are capable of defying mom and dad to that degree.


BoReGo said...

The graffitti is getting worse. I worry about the kids too and where their families are. It's not easy raising kids, but once you have them there are no options. Poker is not an option, drinking yourself into oblivion is not an option, irresponsibility is no excuse. I'm rambling now, but that's what 36 year olds do.

BoReGo said...

Thanks for putting the Mallard Pond link on your blogroll. I just added you to mine.

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

Welcome. Loved your post about Quitigua. I added my own less temperate version.

The Saipan Blogger said...

I've noticed an increase in grafitti in the last week, too. It must be Spring Break. I have $2000 to spend on paint. I'll get to work on it.

CNMI Blogger said...

Welcome Back, Jeff!
Hope your trip was successful.

I'm currently reading The Tipping Point. A friend of mine who recently came out to help beautify for the first time last month loaned me his book. I'm about halfway through it. In fact, I just read the part where it talked about the "broken window theory" and the eventual dramatic decline in New York's rate. Fascinating!

As I told Angelo, when I shared my vision of creating Beautify CNMI by bringing together the Gov't, private, and community to work together collaboratively and share our limited resources, I had no idea the tipping book existed at all.

In fact, Angelo and the regular BC volunteers will tell you that that everytime I speak to a new group and explain Beautify CNMI! to them, I always end up saying, "Now that you've been infected with the "beauty virus," now is your turn to help infect the entire CNMI with the "beauty virus."

In the book, you'll recall "virus" and "infection" are used quite prominently. Hmmm....

You also mentioned graffiti. You'll be happy to know that we're working with DPS's Crime Prevention Unit on ridding our islands of graffiti. Watch the 6 o'clock news tomorrow (Wed.). They haven't aired that story yet, but they'll air it Wednesday night (tomorrow night).

Meanwhile, the papers were present at the press conference. I do believe it will be in tomorrow's papers as well.

Anyway, take care and hope you had a good Easter.


Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

Would you like to talk to my seniors about it? I think it would be a good thing.

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

In fact Cinta, if we can start a campus branch of Beautify CNMI in the schools, which I'd be willing to do, this movement can take off? Someone of your stature visiting here could help. Please get in touch with me about this.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Dude, let's do it. Let me know who I need to talk to. 2 kids could make this happen.

BoReGo said...

Come to GES!

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

And SSHS. I have very good contacts at San Vicente and MHS and could set that up for you as well. I'll coordinate from SSHS. EMail me or give ma a call, I'm in the book.