PLAIN ENGLISH

Maureen N. Maratita

I was interested to read that the outgoing British Prime Minister has appointed a cost of living “czar,” whose stated aims and “measures of success” would include getting food into shops and cutting costs. He has six months to make a difference.

Wonderful, I thought. Can we get one of those?

 And then I read further. The czar can’t introduce legislation — for example to reduce taxes. And one of his solutions is to turn to the private sector for help in bringing costs down. He’d like the marketing money that businesses spend to use elsewhere. What? They can keep him. …

 

I was musing the other day on where I live when I’m in Guam.

According to the U.S. military and various federal officials, we residents live in “the Indo-Pacific.” But the term has been around since the 1920s and was first coined in Germany. 

It’s just when I hear “a free and open Indo-Pacific,” which has become as common as “Have a nice day” that I wish it had never returned. It could have been worse. It could have been “a free and open Indo-West Pacific” or a “free and open Indo-Pacific Asia,” which are both also geographically correct.

The European Commission defined the Indo-Pacific as stretching from “the East coast of Africa to the Pacific Island states” in 2021, which is not helpful. If we add in any more regions and countries, there won’t be any room in the Indo-Pacific for all those multi-force military exercises we love to have, complete with shore visits….

I notice that when “a free and open Indo-Pacific,” gets trotted out in a speech or remarks you can see people’s eyes glaze over and their minds wander, or they start to get restless. We avoid the phrase in the Journal.

(But if we ever get a U.S. president, or a vice president or a speaker of the house stopping in Guam any time soon and they meet with local media and use those words, we will likely quote them — and anything else they say.)

I know I live in the Micronesian region, and there’s a definition for that. I live in the North Pacific too. I have a very clear map on my walls both at home and in my office that shows exactly where the equator bisects the North and South Pacific if I’m in doubt about any of the other islands. It came in very useful when first I moved to Guam.

There’s a reason the South Pacific Games Commission dropped “South” from the South Pacific Games. When the games started in 1963 with 10 countries, all of them were from the South Pacific and it stayed in use, even when Guam began attending in 1966 and as participation grew from the North Pacific. But in 2011, the games in North Caledonia became the Pacific Games. How sensible. …

 

Now I am going to change course to think about the parties and events ahead in August — the masking and the fist bumping that’s back in Guam, how I feel for the Federated States of Micronesia as COVID ramps up in the country, the stories that are begging to be written and the many great reasons for you to spend your marketing dollars — with our publications. …

 

— Maureen N. Maratita is the publisher at Glimpses Media. Publications at Glimpses Media include the Marianas Business Journal, MBJ Life, The Real Estate Journal, Guam Business Magazine, Beach Road Magazine, Buenas and Drive Guam.