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Beyond the leaf

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 held close enough to the eye,
a single leaf can block your view
of the entire forest.”

That’s a paraphrase of a quote I heard recently. It means, in other words: Don’t allow the apparent magnitude of what is transpiring right before your eyes to discourage you, paralyze you, stall your plans, or cloud your vision of a bigger picture that exists just beyond it. For you see, as serious as recent local news items might appear, despite whatever scandals abound and how huge they seem relative to life here on Saipan, things will only be turned around by those who can see and plan for an alternate future by staying focused on the bigger picture.

And yes, there is a bigger picture. Things are being organized. People are being influenced. News is being spread. Opportunities are being created. Regardless of what is being publicized in the news, the fact is, as we say in Jamaica, “big tings a gwan!” (Big things are going on). You simply have to know where to look. Today, therefore, I’d like to share a few encouraging thoughts to show some of what I see from my vantage point, and to get you looking beyond the leaf.

The following are from actual emails I’ve received over the past few weeks—from different people who have expressed their opinions that “there’s just something about Saipan!” If you have any information or suggestions for any of these individuals, please email them at

There are people who’ve lived here who want to reconnect…

“I lived on Saipan as an Army brat in 1946, and loved it! I’m trying to find out more about the place we lived—the army commanding officers quarters atop a hill. Trying to get it located on map of Saipan, and also find out whether it was built by the Army or was a pre-existing structure. Can you help me? If not, who can? Thanks!” (To help this woman, please see a photo of the view from her Saipan house at

…or return:

“How’s everything on Saipan? We have a guy working on my ship from Saipan. Being in the states sucked women-wise, but I made up for lost time in Spain so far. After [this assignment], I plan to move back to Saipan.”

There are people who are just now discovering Saipan, who are fascinated by it, and excited about coming here and offering their passion and expertise:

“I personally would like to find others who are interested in areas of aquaculture or alternative energies and related areas. I can bring a little knowledge, management experience, minimal investment funding and a great deal of enthusiasm to the table. This sort of introductory information as a post in a focused forum would hopefully generate interest from others who’ve located your Web sites and are seeking similar support and assistance...”

There are people who visit as tourists for the first time who are captivated relative to their personal experience

“...I found that what really impressed me [about Saipan] are the following:

1. The color of the water near Managaha island and Memorial Park, and in other locations around the island. It is the color of bright jade. Just loving it!

2. How safe it feels. During the days that I did the homestay, the entrance was never locked. I used to do that in California, so it was not surprising to me, but it would be shocking to a person who has only lived in the urban areas of most cities, where a steel door entrance is a must to fend against break-ins.

3. Beautiful, but uncrowded beaches. Better yet, beaches that are all public! It is definitely touching to a person who has gotten used to seeing signs saying “private property, do not trespass” in many scenery spots in other parts of the US.

There are people who have recently moved here to live:

“As to what brings me here: I have been looking for a place that would allow me to live in harmony with nature, and Saipan seems to offer that. What I’ve seen of the island life thus far definitely makes me happy with my choice. What made you choose Saipan over other places? What are your favorite aspects of living in Saipan?”

There are people who are considering doing business here…

“I enjoyed your recent article about doing business, and the subsequent reply, and answer. We have been trying to find exact info on possibly moving our corporate operations to Saipan… With the decline of the garment industry, who knows what opportunity might surface!”

studying here…

“My company is located in Shanghai, China, and I am considering sending my staff to go to study English in Saipan for a 3 to 6 months program…”

partying and relaxing here…

“[Our mutual friend] told me that you lived in Saipan, and ever since then, I have had a growing curiosity about it. I LOVE to travel! I have been to every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. I am thinking of planning to go to Micronesia sometime in mid-May to early June. Is it raining by then? What’s the difference in nightlife in Guam vs Saipan? I love the partying and all that, but I’m also coming with my mother who loves beautiful resorts and beaches; so I’m looking to get the best of both worlds…”

The Point:

I could go on sharing dozens of correspondence from people in the US, China, Russia, Australia, UK, India, etc. for whom Saipan is an attractive place to be. So what’s my point? My point is simply that reality is a very subjective thing. However large the leaf of your daily life looms in your own vision, there are alternate realities being lived out right here on island by people whom you pass on the street, or who shopping in the next aisle over from you in the supermarket.
I’ll share another quote from the “Notes from the Universe” newsletter to remind you something about life:

Life, [my friend], is not what you see, but what you’ve projected.
It’s not what you’ve felt, but what you’ve decided.
It’s not what you’ve experienced, but how you’ve remembered it.
It’s not what you’ve forged, but what you’ve allowed.
And it’s not who’s appeared, but who you’ve summoned.

Especially as an potential entrepreneur (“Saipanpreneur”) seeking to create a passion-centered business here in paradise, it is absolutely imperative that your passion, your vision and your goals not be contaminated or diluted by media reporting about this little island. There’s an attraction, and a uniqueness, and something about Saipan that may only be experienced by those of us who live and work here, that can never be captured (but fortunately, too, can never be lessened) by the spin of the evening news or derogatory websites.

And you can have the life you’ve projected, the life you’ve decided, the life you’ve allowed, with the people you’ve summoned to create the memories you wish to have, even here on Saipan! Just look beyond the leaf!


Note: Ever wanted to direct your friends and family to a set of Web sites that revealed the best things about Saipan? Do what I do: send them to!

Fans and followers of the book, Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan are encouraged to place orders at A new shipment is coming soon, and people are already claiming their copies even before it arrives! Don’t miss out!


Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!

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