Stop throwing good money after bad

By Mabel Doge Luhan

My weekend was super, thanks for asking! I discovered through diligent reading of Wikipedia that Saturday was the birthday of our very own Tina Saipan! It was pure delight to command my falcons in birthday-salute formation over our skies all day that day. I only needed to make the special hand gesture in order for all my dear birds to turn thirty-five degrees north and in a perfect line drop big globs of bird shit on Rafet’s house! Oh, maybe it will inspire him to keep a pet bird all his own when he moves into his next taxpayer-funded residence!

But apparently HANMI hasn’t had such a great weekend, nor even such a great year! Their hotels are struggling, as they have been caterwauling to our mouthbreathing newspaper! And their private business problems are, of course, our public problem. Because when HANMI says “we’re struggling,” what they really mean is “give us more public money.”

Why? And “Because of all the free stays and meals for CNMI politicians and their relatives” is not a valid answer, even if a somewhat truthful one.

On his latest government (admittedly, Japanese government) funded trip to Japan, did full-time government-salaried HANMI stooge Chris Concepcion notice something? And I’m not talking about the way Si Arnold’s chest hair peeks out from under his yukata! I’m talking about Japan’s tourism boom! Including tourists from Japan, Korea, and even murderous China!

Why could that possibly be? Certainly it must be because Japan’s tourism authority has been taking lots of vacations to Australia and New Orleans? Oh, they haven’t? Perhaps because Japan’s tourism authority has been taste-testing FRESH LOBSTER at five-star resorts in Korea? Oh, not that either? Well definitely Japan’s tourism authority has been cruising cocktail hours at $500/night beach resorts in Malaysia? Oh, they haven’t?

Oh, I know, I know — Japan is getting all those tourists because they have all those AIRLINE SEATS! As Chris learned in his many years weighing suitcases and printing boarding passes, tourists go wherever there are the most flights available, and bringing more tourists to a destination is simply a matter of bribing airlines to run more flights to places where nobody wants to go. Except that hasn’t been working for us, has it?

Maybe it’s because — Japan is having a sale? Could it possibly be that? That both voluntarily (through price cutting) and involuntarily (through negative interest rates and currency depreciation) Japan is offering a better tourism product, cheaper, than the CNMI is?

What tourist would want to go to a destination that, compared to Japan (or Korea, or Phuket, or Boracay), is more expensive, dirtier, more dangerous, has less to do, and has hotels, service, food, and infrastructure orders of magnitude worse than Japan’s? As very few people in the CNMI government realize, we’re not the only game in town. And consumers base their choices on what’s best and cheapest — not on who can wine and dine airline executives or produce embarrassing homemade ad campaigns?

How about instead of demanding more public money for their private businesses, HANMI (by the way, does anyone in the CNMI government know what “Hanmi” means in Korean slang?) would lower prices? Sure, in this economic climate, they probably can’t invest much in improving their hotels — times are so tough, after all, that most tourism company owners are living in low-income housing! But maybe they could do like every other struggling business in human history and cut prices to attract customers — especially since the product isn’t all that great — instead of demanding more government money?

What if instead of funding the Malaysian Vacation Association, we actually cleaned up our islands? What if we cracked down on all the smalltime scams tourists encounter here? What if we sent out all the government employees who are normally either playing on Facebook or extorting business owners to clean up beaches? Or even be free guides at our tourist spots?

Or considering how well-nigh impossible that sounds, what if instead of paying for more FRESH LOBSTER and PRIVATE PLUNGE POOLS for Chris Concepcion and his longtime companions, we just handed out that cash to the CNMI’s struggling people? That would be about $500 per year for every man, woman, child, and Ralph Torres supporter in the CNMI.

What would your family do with two thousand dollars cash? Would you prefer that $2,000 cash in your pocket every year to MVA taking another luxury vacation? Then tell the Governor about it. Tell your legislators about it. And let’s stop throwing good money after bad.


Mabel Doge Luhan is a woman of loose morals. She resides in Kagman V, where she pursues her passions of crocheting, beatboxing, and falconry.


  • They call me Joe

      05/26/2024 at 8:14 AM

    Poor Mabel, she actually thinks her diatribes might change something? Good luck with that. If Mr. MVA (aka; size 13 shit kicker boots) is any indication of what the CNMI should expect – don’t get your hopes up. A tiger doesn’t change it’s stripes, nor does a pirate (aka; Islas de los ladrones) change it’s behavior. But good for you Mabel, keep on spewing your long winded paragraphs about your falcons and other bullshit, meanwhile Rome burns while the idiots the people elected keep fiddling. When will they learn? – spoiler alert (never). Kilili tells them to vote for Propst (a perfect example). Sure, vote for Propst so that the familia bullshit can continue? (isn’t Propst’s wife related to Kilili?)

    On another note –

    Anyone care to flashback to COP26 when Sheila Babauta went to Scotland and praised Obama and threw scorn on the U.S. military and colonialism? If my memory is correct she said climate change was the greatest threat to the CNMI? Sorry Sheila, the greatest threat to the CNMI is the local pirates you and others like you might have elected into office (speculation). Strange how the same people and federal government you like to criticize are the same people who the CNMI rips off and takes advantage of ? And then the CNMI has the nerve to ask for more money and / or covenant talks”? (what happened to all that ARPA money?) By the way Sheila, did your idol Obama throw some of those millions of dollars he earned from his book deals, or at a minimum some of his wisdom slash / solutions toward the CNMI’s problems after your biased and slanted speech? I didn’t think so. But from what I remember, he thanked you for that wonderful introduction you gave him (brown nose much Ms. Sheila?) Keep on hating us mainlanders Shelia, maybe we will return the favor to some of your island brothers and sisters who live in the mainland and take advantage of our “colonial mentality”? Who knows, maybe at the next COP event even I might give a speech about how ignorant islanders in the CNMI waste U.S. taxpayer dollars so they can feed their faces at hotel buffets and then fart excess CO2 that contributes to global warming?

    My advice to Mabel – don’t waste your time with these salt water slugs. Nothing will ever change. They prefer to play the “blame game” and collect food stamps rather then looking in the mirror. Apologies in advance, I have nothing against CNMI residents (I feel your pain), – rather I have everything against those CNMI charlatans who seek elected office because they are lazy and unemployable and play the “blame game”. Ditto those “climate activist” or “others” who lost an election but look to get hired by a ‘NGO” (non government organization) or other taxpayer funded “pig trough” because they can’t make it on their own credentials? You hearing me?

    By the way, here is a truth bomb – the CNMI is nothing but a “caste” system (the upper connected people screw over the working class). Your politicians eat lobster while the rest of the island eats “spam” (if they are lucky enough to afford that). Politicians who don’t get reelected look to get hired and continue sucking off the government payroll of the next administration by using “familia names” or other means. It’ either that, or they look to get hired by an NGO, lobbyist firm, environmental organization or a non-profit do gooder organization (just ask “friends of the Marianas Trench”?) or maybe ask Angelo?

    Couldn’t get a regular job based on your experience? (speculation). What better way to earn a living then freeloading on one of the many bullshit organizations that exist off of donations, federal money, tax payer donations, or Trump haters?

    By the way, shout out to “Dances with Airports” (Corina – the Native American Casino Expert and Junket Queen). Please tell us Corina, when can the people of the CNMI expect results from those past trips (junkets) you took to the Philippines and San Diego under the guise of looking for new casino investors? Any luck? I didn’t think so – and if I’m not mistaken, you didn’t think so either – but why pass up the opportunity for some free airline travel and hotel stays? (my opinion).

    My advice to the people of the CNMI, get out while the getting out is good. To those who cannot afford to leave, quit electing a bunch of unqualified charlatans and blowhards who are selling you out for their own benefit.

    P.S. – Oh Mabel, you are a hottie. My tissue box is almost empty because of you (sarcasm alert). And to CNMI Lawyer – I stand by my previous comment (up yours). Go enjoy your Zaldy bullshit approved ragsheet known as the Variety (aka; we censor words like “stup*d)

    What a joke (the entire CNMI and the idiot politicians and blowhards who are responsible for destroying it).

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