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  • Da CHåt
  • Peter R. Onedera (bio)

One day, my dotter said dat someone in school called her a CHåt and shebursted into tears.What's a CHåt? I asked her.A CHåt is someone who talks like a CHamoru, she said.And how does one talk like a CHamoru? I asked.With a strong accent, nai, she replied.And what's a strong accent? I continued.Like da way you and mom tok. Engles da CHamoru way, she said.Engles, da CHamoru way? How's dat?Like dis, she said, "Kan you chek da kees in da jip?"So?Dat's not gud. I sometimes pik it up and dat's why Kimberlee called me a CHåt!Does she talk like a CHåt?No, she spiks fancy Engles.So, I concluded, someone who spiks fancy Engles is someone high and mighty andone who spiks in Engles, the CHamoru way is CHåt? I asked.Eksakli she said.My dotter, tell you klasmet dat just becos you are a CHåt doesn't make her any bettadan you.But, dat's jus' it, daddy. She is a lot betta dan me! She aks rich and wears new anddifferent shoes every day and her fodder is a senator. I amnot like her and I just wishI could be like her but we cannot afford it.Tell me, what is the true meaning of a CHåt? I asked her point blank.A CHåt is a low class CHamoru dat doesn't spik gud Engles and wears ordinary clofsand cannot afford nice cars, big congkrit houses, and eat out at rest rants.And she has all dat?I tink so!Do you want all dat?No.Why?Becos it doesn't matta whether one is rich or not. Da important ting is to knowhow to be kind to odders, to be helpful, and considerate when one is not well off, and,mos of all, to be a fren to someone who needs a fren.So, why did you get upset when she called you a CHåt?Becos I feel sorry for her. [End Page 80] Why do you feel sorry for her?Becos I allowed her to get under my skin when all da time, I realize she doesn't haveany frens at all.You see, I misjudged her. [End Page 81]

Peter R. Onedera

Peter R. Onedera is considered a literary activist with the many plays he has written and produced in addition to poetry, lyrics, short stories, essays, and articles for magazines, scholarly journals and anthologies. He is also an educator, lecturer, folklorist, organizer, translator, and a storyteller. He has been involved in CHamoru language and cultural programs and events on Guam and in many off-island conferences and festivals. He was designated a master storyteller by the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency.