The mayor didn’t get the governor’s fiscal crisis memo?

By Mabel Doge Luhan

Who’s your favorite gay samurai?

Mine is Matsuo Basho!

His epic poem The Narrow Road to the Deep North described one man’s overwhelming urge to travel Japan:

“I seemed to be possessed by the spirits of wanderlust, and they all but deprived me of my senses. The guardian spirits of the road beckoned, and I could not settle down to work.”

Oh how relevant it remains today, nearly five hundred years after it was written! I hope five hundred years from now, people are still hate-reading my column!

“It  was  only  toward  the  end  of  last  autumn  that  I  returned from rambling along the coast. I barely had time to sweep the cobwebs from my broken house on the River Sumida before the New Year, but no sooner had the spring mist begun to rise over the field than I wanted  to be on  the road again  to cross  the barrier‐gate of Shirakawa in due time. The gods seem to have possessed my  soul  and  turned it inside  out,  and  the roadside  images  seemed  to  invite  me  from  every corner, so that it was impossible for me to stay idle at home.”

It very much could have been written by one of our political own!

According to an actual press release — meaning, this is something he wanted to brag about — Saipan Mayor RB Camacho recently took a trip to Hokkaido! Just like Matsuo Basho (“It  was  early  on  the morning  of  March  the  twenty‐seventh  that  I  took  to  the  road.”), RB Camacho set off on his journey in late March, the most scenic time to travel Japan.

Ramon B. Camacho

Camacho’s press release actually pulls no punches. Totally shameless. It mentions that the place the good mayor visited, Noboribetsu, “is celebrated for its natural hot springs [and] scenic landscapes.”

Coincidentally, it’s also the peak of sakura season! Maybe MVA was sharing some of its sakura season travel expertise with the mayor? The MVA is full of experts on travel — outbound, that is.

And what was Mayor RB Camacho doing in Hokkaido? The press release doesn’t even say. It just says that “The visit came in part due to a long-standing relationship between Saipan and Noboribetsu…” Yeah, that’s nice, even if RB might not be the best partner for any kind of relationship, much less a “long-standing” one.

And Noboribetsu is committed to send students to Saipan sometime in early December or early next year! Well! We certainly got our money’s worth for this trip, didn’t we? There’s no way those students would have come to study English in Saipan had RB not traveled to Hokkaido! And when those students arrive with their prepaid accommodations and suitcases full of ramen, they’ll certainly create so much tax revenue for the CNMI!

Perhaps most puzzlingly, according to the press release (again, this is something his office actually voluntarily sent out), “Exploring avenues for collaboration and exchange with Noboribetsu is pivotal for our community’s growth and resilience. We must continue to look for various economic activities as the livelihood of our people depends on it.”

The livelihood of our people depends on… collaboration and exchange with Noboribetsu? A town with a population of 49,000 (and like ours, rapidly declining) in Hokkaido? I certainly hope not!

Has he not received the memo? We’re in a serious fiscal crisis. There’s no money for essential stuff. We’re still paying him his full salary. And he still wants more: a vacation in Hokkaido!

Mr. Camacho’s statement could be more accurately rephrased as: “Exploring avenues for travel and sightseeing in scenic spots like Noboribetsu is pivotal for my milking this election win for everything I can get from it. I must continue to look for various travel and dining activities as my personal enjoyment depends on it.”

Why do we even have mayors if the best they can do for our islands is vacationing at our expense? The useful things they do, like beach cleanups and trash collection, could be done by a few employees in a regular government department — not a whole slew of political hires who dole out their services only to those who vote for them.

Where’s Mayor Camacho going next, and does Chris Concepcion share tips with him on how to spend all those miles and points he receives from the CNMI Treasury’s travel dollars?

The gay samurai said it best: “Those who steer a boat across the sea, or drive a horse over the earth till they succumb to the weight of years, spend every minute of their lives traveling.”


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


  • 1. I like this lady’s OPED, so far. It’s “In-Your-Face” type. I like that. I hope she doesn’t stop writing, or simmer down her “say.” The one I like best is the one on “Chris Concepcion’s trip to SE Asia. Junket? It’s been like that with “Visitor’s Authority.” Asia!!!

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