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The Truth About Saipan
The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!
If you’re like me, a title like “The Truth About [Anything]” is a compelling one that makes you want to read more. I believe we all, on some level, yearn to know the truth. Especially if you’ve heard contrasting things about life on Saipan, it would be nice, once and for all, to get to the truth of it all, wouldn’t it?
The truth is, however, there is no single truth about Saipan. In any attempt to uncover the truth, what we find are subjective perspectives, opinions and observations determined by individual agendas. Some agendas are simple: (eg. “I want to make everyone as miserable as I am”). Some agendas are complex. (eg. “We will organize a federal takeover, reshape it in our image, and make this a military R&R spot for the troops.”)
Even the news media has an agenda. People joke that the media’s motto is “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!” Good (read salacious) stories sell papers, magazines and advertising. Yes, the truth changes based on who is speaking and what they want out of life.
So, whether Saipan is a paradise or a den of corruption is all based on one’s agenda. If you are a pessimist who wants people to wallow in your misery, then Saipan is one thing. If you’re an optimist, bent on helping improve conditions, it’s another. If you call yourself a “realist” (generally a pessimist in disguise), then things generally tend toward the negative with the disclaimer that you’re just being real.
But that’s all okay, because if you know a person’s agenda, then everything they say and do makes sense (unless their agenda is specifically to confuse you about what their agenda is; or unless they’re just crazy). And, if you know a person’s agenda, then you won’t be unduly misled by their claims to truth.
So, with that said, what’s MY agenda? As the author of several passionpreneur books, and as evidenced by the title of my weekly column, my agenda is to encourage people to start their own businesses based on their passions. However, I have other agendas as well. One is to help all peoples optimize their assets, achieve empowerment, and maintain control over the things that matter to them. Here on Saipan—for my own selfish reasons—I’d like to maintain the cultural diversity, natural beauty, and uncomplicated lifestyle that I’ve come to love about living here.
But wait, there’s more. There’s also a part of my agenda that some may consider subversive, and that is to reveal the underlying deception of most modern ideals and belief systems, encourage a lifestyle that values simplicity and minimalism instead of consumerism, and excess, that favors the natural over the artificial, and at the same time honors everyone’s right and freedom to choose whichever lifestyle works for them.
My goal is to help people arrive at a set of choices that creates a clean environment, promotes optimal health, safeguards the rights and freedoms of all, and offers an effective understanding of reality.
Every column I write, every website I launch, every project I embark upon includes a combination of some or all of those agendas. But don’t be misled. Remember my agenda. It’s not my nature to focus on the negative, however “real” the realists say it is. People who harp on doom won’t start businesses or see the opportunity in the “doom.”
Even my “facts” are selectively offered based on my agenda and what I want you to see. I can strive for a 50-50 balance, but even then, I’ll always tend to give at least 51 percent (accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative, as Bing Crosby sang) to aid the possibility of victory and the triumph of hope.
The Truth About Saipan
So, with that said, here is my truth about Saipan:
* Saipan is overcoming a branding challenge. In other words, what comes to mind when people think of “Saipan” isn’t always what those of us who actually live and work here think are its best assets. We’re emerging from the shadow of an era tainted by a controversial garment industry, and other bad (accurate or not) press.
* Like the rest of the world, there’s an economic transition taking place on Saipan. In addition, there are agendas for federalization, immigration and labor reform, which make this an island on the verge.
However, even with these and other changes and challenges, there are a multitude of assets which make this a great place to visit, vacation, live, learn and love!
* Great Weather: Saipan holds the Guinness World Record for most consistent temperature. The average difference between night and day is greater than the average difference between winter and summer. Those of us who actually live and work here on Saipan enjoy warm tropical weather year round.
* Natural beauty: There is natural, pristine beauty here in the form of beautiful sunrises, beaches, foliage, fruits, sunsets, rock formations, aquatic life and more!
* Proximity to Marianas Trench (the deepest part of the world’s oceans): While no one actually goes diving that deep, our proximity to such a rich, bio-diverse, unexplored region of the world’s oceans has blessed us with underwater life that makes Saipan one of the best places for….
* World class diving: World class shore diving, “Eagle Ray City,” and the Grotto are just some of the activities and locations those who dive our waters rave about.
* Discovery of ecological significance: Scientists and students of ecology can learn much about life on our planet from our coral reefs (estimated value comparable to Hawaii), and the pristine, biodiversity of our waters. The U.S. government recently created the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (an area of over 12,000 square nautical miles) in recognition of this significance.
* Cultural diversity: Life on Saipan has been influenced by the Spanish, Germans, Japanese, and Americans! The indigenous Chamorro and Carolinian people, immigrants, guest workers, tourists, investors and students from Asia, the Pacific, and America, make this a place of unprecedented cultural/ethnic potential.
* Historical significance: Without needing to glorify war and violence, it stands as fact that Saipan was a key battle site during World War II. It’s been said the Cold War started on Tinian, the island just 3 miles south of Saipan! That’s where the atomic bombs dropped on Japan were launched!
* Archeological significance: Ancient artifacts of some of the planet’s earliest civilizations are found here.
* Unsolved mysteries: The case could be made that there are stories waiting to be told about the Amelia Earhart mystery, sunken Spanish treasure ships, World War II disappearances, ancient civilizations in which Saipan figures prominently. What might you discover on your own?
And that’s just some of the truth about Saipan. (Don’t forget my agenda). Despite its challenges, many who come, stay. Many who leave miss it terribly. And many who travel the world over come back to enjoy a way of life they can’t find anywhere else. Those of us who actually live and work on Saipan know this to be truth.
‘Come See For Yourself!’
Ultimately, the only way to discover the truth about Saipan is to come see for yourself! But it would be wise to heed the moral of this story:
Once upon a time, a person moved into a new town and asked one of the town residents, “What are the people in this town like?”
“What were the people like in the town you just left?” The resident asked back.
The new person answered, “They were unfriendly and nasty.”
And the town resident said, “I think you’ll find the people here are just about the same.”
Later, the same resident was approached by another new arrival, who asked the same question. Again, the resident asked, “What were the people like in the town you just left?”
The answer was “The people were warm and friendly.” And the resident answered, “I think you’ll find the people here are just about the same.”
Saipan Living Invitation
As founder of SaipanLiving.com, I receive questions and inquiries every day from people who are considering moving to Saipan to live, work, start businesses, rent property, escape the rat race, or simply live a different lifestyle. If you’d like to share your truth with them, as the content on the site is being developed, please visit www.saipanliving.com and/or email me to become an expert and answer their questions. I encourage you to participate, otherwise their perception of Saipan will be “the world according to Walt,” (and who wants a bunch of subversive, minimalist, Jamaican, vegan idealists running around island?)
P.S. On the site, you’ll also discover some interesting truths about the little-known Touwalawas people of Saipan! I think you’ll find them interesting.
Note: After last week’s Save Saipan column, I was contacted by Jeaniffer Hiponia who created a Facebook group called “Being the Change that Saipan Needs.” Find it on Facebook and let’s all join her movement, too!
Visa waiver comments:
Do you have a concern about the pending Visa Waiver law? Make your voice heard! Please note that public comments must be submitted by March 17, 2009. You must reference Docket #: USCBP-2009-0001 in your letters. Send letters to:
Border Security Regulations
Branch, Office of International Trade,
Customs and Border Protection, Mint Annex,
799 9th Street, NW.,
Washington, DC 20001.
Also, submit your comments and concerns online at:
www.change.gov, www.whitehouse.gov, www.regulations.gov, and www. dhs.gov. The more the better.
Note: For more tips on overcoming your fears, acting on your ideas, changing the game, and creating a passion-centered lifestyle, visit www.passionprofit.com!
Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!
Walt F.J. Goodridge is author of 12 books including Turn Your Passion Into Profit. Walt offers coaching and workshops to help people pursue and profit from their passions. Originally from the island of Jamaica, Walt has grown several successful businesses in the US, and now makes his home here in Saipan. To learn more about the Saipanpreneur Project and Walt’s philosophy and formula visit www.saipanpreneur.com and www.passionprofit.com
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WHERE IS SAIPAN?
Located in the western pacific, a short flight from Guam and 3 hours from Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a popular tourist destination rich in history, culture and natural resources. Saipan, just 5 miles wide by 12 miles long, is the largest and most populated of the 14 islands making up an archipelago that stretches 400 miles (north to south) along the edge of the Marianas Trench.
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