Saturday, 26 January 2008


An incredibly bile-filled report on life in the US dependent territory of Saipan, I have no way of knowing how much of this is true, but it makes for interesting reading all the same. The sweat-shop conditions for Asian imigrant labourers are not news to me, the various misdeeds of certain section of the male US mainland immigrant population are standard for the poorer parts of Asia (although the Hillblom case still shocked), the high level of corruption was quite surprising:

That candidate, late in the 2001 election, was shown to have paid a prospective voter $550 by check drawn on his campaign organization. A photocopy of the check was published in one of the two Saipan newspapers – not the one owned by his sponsor and former employer. The candidate's spokesman answered the charges. Unable to deny the allegations of vote-buying, the spokesman defended the practice – claiming the payments were an "accommodation" and that such payments are made out of the kindness of the candidate's heart. They represent "the island way." (He actually said that. You can't make this stuff up.) At least one other payment was disclosed later, also drawn on the candidate's campaign organization and similarly defended. Vote-buying, therefore, is openly argued to constitute acceptable conduct. And where did this candidate's money to buy votes come from? From the garment interests, of course. Because garment workers are paid nearly slave wages, the factory owners are able to amass enormous capital both to pay off United States Congressmen to maintain the CNMI's political status quo and to buy votes for their local candidate.