Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Another big problem that we have on island is the sudden increase in acts of thievery. The obvious "Top Dog" in this field are the copper wire thieves. However, this blog is not about them, but about the regular "come up to you and rob you" thieves. There was an article in the Variety today about a tourist and two alien workers who got robbed. To the thieves involved in those incidents, I commend you for contributing to the downfall of this island. Yes, YOU are to blame for the worsening tourism industry. Now, I am aware that the main reason for the decrease in arrivals to the CNMI is the pullout of JAL, but it's things like this that make everything worse for us.

Instead of promoting a good, positive image for the CNMI, you are sending a message out to everyone saying that this is not a good place to go to. Instead of going back to Japan and telling everyone how beautiful Saipan is, how wonderful his stay was, and how hospitable people were, Akinobu Okuda, the most recent tourist who fell victim to you thieves, he will go back to Japan and tell everyone to steer clear of Saipan. He will most likely be telling people that Saipan is a land of thieves and people who attack tourists and it would be best to avoid coming here. To steal is one thing, but to physically ATTACK the tourists? This is ABSURD!! What effect do YOU think this will have on us? If you really think that it won't affect us and you guys don't care about any of it, then you really are fools. You're probably some of the many people on island who constantly complain about how Saipan sucks and we have nothing going for us. Well, thanks to you, it can only get worse from here.

Mr. Okuda wasn't the only one who's been robbed (obviously). Back in November, Marianas High School's sister school in Japan, Seisa Gakuen, sent a few students here to participate in a homestay program. My sister and I hosted a student named Yuta. One day, we all went to Garapan to shop, and DFS was our last stop before going back home. While we were inside shopping, Yuta decided to go walk around on the second floor parking lot for a while. He set his black burberry bag down next to him, and a few minutes later he was distracted by his teachers, who had come to talk to him. After leaving, he realized that he had left his bag at DFS. Only 15 minutes after leaving DFS, we returned, only to find that the bag was gone. We went to security to see if anyone had turned in something to lost and found, but there was nothing there. Now, you might be saying, "That's not stealing." YES, it IS. In his bag was his wallet, which contained $25 (he was lucky he didn't put in all his money), his cell phone, his driver's license (which is REALLY expensive in Japan), and his digital camera. My friend Jeff and I stayed at DFS until around 11 pm trying to solve things. We didn't get anything out of it. Jeff and I jokingly said that Yuta probably hates Saipan now and he probably won't want to come back. However, Yuta, being the nice guy that he is, said he loves it here and although his bag is a great loss, he said from the experience, he gained lifelong friends and he knew we could be trusted. To the person who took Yuta's bag, shame on you. Thank YOU for turning my friend's dream into a nightmare.

Although Yuta has gone back to Japan and is telling all his friends about what a nice place Saipan is, who knows what his relatives might be saying after hearing about his incident? For all you know, they could be telling everyone the same things I mentioned in Mr. Okuda's story. The point is, people, we're never gonna get anywhere with this island if things like this go on. Yes, MVA and many other organizations and individuals are working hard to promote the CNMI, but that just isn't enough. If people keep attacking tourists and robbing them, all the negative publicity will counter the positive advertising and then what will happen?

Think about it before you rob your next tourist. If you really cared about the island, you'd change your ways.

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