A few weeks ago, a former workshop attendee and coaching client revealed that she nominated me to be considered for this year’s Governor’s Humanities Award here on Saipan. I thanked her (Thanks, Riza!), but I didn’t really believe I qualified because the period of time under consideration was “during the past 12 months.” While I’ve done some workshops and zoom classes over the past year, many of my potentially qualifying projects took place prior to the pandemic. In any event, as we often say in JA, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” so I mentioned that I had recently created a video resumé she could reference if she needed to provide supporting documentation for the nomination.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised days later when the Director of the Humanities Council, Leo Pangelinan, emailed me a congratulatory letter on being selected for the “Humanities Award for Research and Publication in the Humanities, Outstanding Humanities Teacher, and Preservation of CNMI History.”
In preparation for the upcoming event, I ordered a few new shirts through an Amazon vendor (they were all sold out of white, by the way), had them shipped to a friend in NYC who subsequently shipped them to me here on Saipan. (Luckily, they arrived the Wednesday before the event)! I brushed the dust off my one pair of dress shoes and waited for Friday. Comes the day of the event, and I really believed I was going to be called up on stage to accept ONE award with a very long name. Imagine my surprise when I was presented with THREE separate awards at last night’s ceremony! As I told my friend, Cinta Kaipat, not many things surprise me, but THIS did! Many thanks to Leo, the entire board, Andrew (who made sure my name was spelled correctly!) and to Isaac Anderson, my photographer drafted for the night! The clip below is NOT the entire ceremony, just the first awardee, then my friend, Catherine C. Perry, then me. (A Walt-specific press release is available here: https://www.waltgoodridge.com/pressrelease/
…and, in case you’re wondering, masks were worn by most folks throughout the event (I met one lady–who was “in the family way”–who wore two masks!) but were occasionally removed for photo ops!
Emcee for the night: Romolo Orsini
Master navigators perform Phon Chant
Lino Olopai explains the chant’s purpose and meaning
All 5 award recipients with Humanities Board members
Attorney Joe Hill, the first person I met on Saipan back in 2006! I am wearing a mwar, traditional Carolinian (head lei) headwear typically worn for special occasions.
Cinta Kaipat, the fourth person I ever met on Saipan back in 2006!
Posing with Ralph Torres, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Award number 1: for Research and Publications in the Humanities
Here’s a video resumé of my Saipan-specific books, websites, workshops, school visits, campaigns and adventures from 2006 to the present! If you’ve ever attended or been part of Beautify CNMI, blogger, Friends of the Monument get-together, you might have been captured by the camera! (a sequel to the “What’s It Like Being Jamaican in Saipan” interview!)
15:41 SECTION • Showcasing Saipan to the World From the Saipanpreneur Project to the “What’s it Like to Be Jamaican on Saipan” interview, walt has showcased the best of Saipan in his Saipan Tribune column, 3rd party documentaries and books, websites, tours and in the media!
26:37 SECTION • Community Involvement & Activism Walt has launched crowdfunding campaigns and petitions, co-created a platform for bloggers, volunteered for community movements and launched the first Speech & Essay contest as part of the CNMI’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration.
WATCH NOW! What’s it Like Being Jamaican in Saipan?”
Leave a comment on Youtube, ask a question! If you’re Chamorro or Carolinian, let me know if I got anything wrong!
Way back around 1996, before many of us even heard about the internet, Jamaican native and techie, Xavier Murphy, got a head start and was able to secure the JAMAICANS.COM domain name in anticipation of ‘big tings to come!’ His prescience proved correct, and over the years, this wildly popular website has served as a repository of all things Jamaican for Jamaicans and the people who love them!
As Youtube, Facebook and other online media platforms gained in popularity, Jamaicans.com was there as well! Xavier’s popular Youtube video series, “What’s it Like Being [probably the only] Jamaican in ___________?” has provided a way to connect Jamaicans around the world and showcase our presence and impact abroad! Korea? Ireland? Norway? Zambia? Kuwait? Bali? Russia? Malawi? Yep, we deh deh! (Translation: We are there!)
A few weeks ago, I sat on a beach on Saipan while Xavier–about 8 thousand miles away–asked me that very question: “What’s it like being Jamaican on the small, remote, Pacific island of Saipan???” We had fun as I shared facts and trivia about my new island home, talked nomadpreneuring and escaping the rat race, and during the course of the conversation, discovered that Xavier knows one of my long lost primary school classmates and has helped me re-connect with him!
The interview is FINALLY viewable:
The Youtube version of the video has a lively discussion to join in
Here I am prepping the day before the interview:
Want to learn more about Saipan? Here’s a tour/documentary filmed by LaMancha Media featuring a guest tour guide you might recognize :
UPDATE (12 days later)
Narcisism alert! Yes, as a former civil engineer, these sorts of things
keep me awake at night. Ever since the release of the Jamaicans.com
interview video (“What’s it Like Being a Jamaican in Saipan?”), I’ve
been tracking the daily views on Xavier’s Youtube channel and Facebook page.
Here’s what my analysis revealed:
• The Youtube version had a total 599 views in the first 3 hours; and jumped to 766 in the 1 hour while I watched it
• The version of the video on the Jamaicans.com Facebook page already had an astounding 15,000 views by the time I first checked it out 3 days after upload; it now has 19,000+ views 12 days
I discovered that my Canva.com account that I use for creating Youtube thumbnails, also has a graph feature. So, with nothing else to do on a Sunday morning at 6:00am:
Xavier has 25.2 thousand subscribers to his Youtube channel and this video generated an average of 1,500 views per day. If you have your own Youtube channel, this is definitely the sort of daily view activity you want to aspire to!
In case you’re wondering, being”Jamaican in China….and Beyond” is just one of my alter egos. I’m also the “Ageless Adept,” a vegan, minimalist, self-health, natural living fanatic who promotes the SWEAT philosophy of rejuvenation and maintaining youth (SWEAT = Sunlight, Water, Earth, Air & Time). Here’s one way I fulfill the sunlight portion of that lifestyle:
After watching this video, a good friend asked, “What if something were to happen to you? It looks pretty steep and desolate there with no one around in case you needed a little help.”
To which I replied, “Well, in all likelihood, I probably wouldn’t lie there for more than 24 hours. There’s a path below the cliff that fishermen occasionally take to get to a particular fishing spot, so the carcass wouldn’t go unnoticed for too long. Now, if I happen to be on the TOP of the mountain, then I’d have to wait for someone to notice the vultures or the smell….Oh, and thanks for asking!”
This pilot episode is literally a pilot episode! (and inspired the “Say Hello to My Little Friends” series) It’s pretty cool being flown on an international flight to Vietnam for the first time, aboard an Airbus 321 jet airliner, knowing that my best buddy–Ron McFarlane–is the captain in charge, and “dread at the controls!” It makes it a unique personal experience imagining my friend in the cockpit doing what he’s always wanted to do since he was five years old. Here’s a video recap of the whole experience featuring an in-flight interview with the captain himself with some words of advice for aspiring pilots and anyone pursuing a dream!
A few years ago, I embarked on a unique adventure and spent 6 months doing the nomad thing from Saipan, several cities throughout China, as well as in Laos and Singapore! I had a great time, met a lot of great people, and chronicled it through email updates to my mailing list of followers! With travel restrictions now in effect, I’ve created a weekly email to give YOU a chance to re-live the adventure just as if you were there! Simply sign up to the Jamaican in China “Reloaded” email, then sit back and enjoy the ride in your email inbox every three or so days!
CLICK HERE to re-live the adventure in your email inbox!
CLICK HERE to re-live the adventure in your email inbox!
Just completed filming a comparison of my NEW Ancestry.com results with the previous 23andMe results. I trailed off my narrative, got lost in reviewing the results and forgot that the camera was still recording! So as a preview & test of the sound and video quality of the soon-to-be-released video, here’s an EXCITING 3 minute outtake of me silently staring at my laptop screen, touching my face and rubbing my nose, until I finally realized the camera was still rolling!
People often ask me how different is dating and meeting people in Asia. Here’s a typical occurence:
Saigon, Vietnam. I’m sitting in the park at 6am this morning filming an intro for my next “Jamaican in China and Beyond” blog video. A cute girl comes up and peers into my camera, says she likes my white outfit, invites me to follow her to another side of the park. I’m a little suspicious at first about the long walk, but turns out she just wanted to be closer to her friends who do Qigong/dancing in the morning.
We end up chatting and walking around town. She’s cute, just the face/eyes/body type I like, but seems she hadn’t really pampered herself in a while, so after buying her breakfast, I take her to a spa to have them do her nails and feet.
I was even going to do the Pretty Woman/Set if Off thing where I buy her a dress (remember the scene in Set it Off where Blair Underwood buys Jada Pinkett an evening dress for a dinner party?). Since neither her English nor my Vietnamese were up to par, we communicated by Google Voice Translate for the whole morning, and she says it’s the nicest anyone has ever treated her.
In any event, here’s the actual video of us meeting for the first time and her picking me up (turns out I’m pretty easy), and a clip from inside the nail salon We hang out some more until 12:30, but I had to leave to go get my passport from the Thai Consulate at 1pm, so we part, but agree to hang out later that day.
There’s more to the story, but you’ll have to follow my channel if you want to learn more!
“It was a dark and stormy night…” Oops, wrong opening line. (Sorry, Snoopy.) Ahem. It was a bright and sunny day, and the Holland America cruise ship, Maasdam, was scheduleed to dock at the port on the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Sunday, Sept 8, 2019.
As an island consultant, I’m occasionally asked to provide information on the islands to visitors.
This time, my photographer, Ding, and I showed up at 7am to be sure that THIS time, the ship would, indeed, dock. (Yeah, that’s a whole other story for another time!)
With that little detail confirmed, we headed back to the airport to pick up the vans for our arriving guests.
While awaiting the paperwork, world renown author, ethnographer, oral historian and “birder,” Rlene Santos Steffy, arrives from Guam. I had the pleasure of meeting Rlene on Guam during my recent Guam Writers Workshop Learn more at : https://guamwriters.com/
The paperwork is completed, vans are assigned, drivers are briefed, microphones are checked, signs are posted in the windshields….time for a convoy!
Once at the dock, guests begin exiting the ship after passing through US Customs, and we load up the vans. Two of my guests, Lorrin and Nina Lee, are on a three month tour (see Lorrinlee.com), and were the first of my guests to sign up way back in March!
We head out to our first stop: American Memorial Park.
Answer: One of the largest war time structures on the island: the Bomb Magazine at As Lito airfield.
By this time, the “Saipan in a Day” adventure is officially ended. Robert and Gary have departed and taken our visitors back to the dock, However, a smaller group of WWII buffs are treated to a special private collection of relics and artifacts from the Japanese era and Battle of Saipan.
“As the sun sank slowly over the horizon…” Oops, sorry, wrong epilogue…Wait! That one fits! As the sun sank slowly over the Saipan horizon, Maasdam pulled away from the dock, and sailed off into the sunset on its way to Guam!
“We’ll catch you on the flip flop This here’s the Rubber Duck on the side We gone – Bye Bye!”
Thanks to everyone who made this tour special and run smoothly!