Monday, November 26, 2012


Maulek-ña un kåti ya un laknos i piniti-mo pat binibu-mo
ke ni para un lalango.

(Better for you to cry and release your sadness or anger
than for you to collapse.)

There are two emotions here; sorrow and anger.

I think the rules apply differently for men and women.

Women are always allowed to express sorrow through wailing and weeping; men, however, should remain stoic.  Sons, I think, are given a little liberty to shed tears at their parent's funeral, and perhaps husbands over their dead wives.  But, even then, the men should not be loud and dramatic, as the women are allowed, even expected, to be.

Men, of course, are permitted to give vent to their anger, just as the women are.  Women often mix both anger and sorrow, crying and expressing their hurt as well as their anger.  The men, however, are always expected to be strong and admit emotional pain less.  Anger is "masculine," pain is "feminine," in the minds of many people.

So, in the midst of death, women are encouraged to let the weeping and wailing go full force.  It is bad to keep the sadness inside.  One can lose one's sanity that way, it is believed.  I have seen women in the family go mute at a funeral, only to have family members shake them, even gently slap them, for the dazed woman to "come to," being prodded to cry, scream and let it all out.

When Chamorro women do go at it at funerals, they are not told to shush.  Only when the mourner is about to do something physically harmful or exaggerated will someone step in; like climbing into the grave or throwing something across the room.

If a Chamorro woman sheds no tears at a funeral, there are only two possibilities.  One, she had little love for the deceased and two, she did not allow her grief to show, and she had better let it out sometime or else she will suffer mentally at some point.

As for anger, many people consider it advantageous for the person to vent all their anger verbally.  This may be enough, it is thought, to prevent something worse from happening.  But be wary of the offended party who keeps silence.  He or she is but a dormant volcano, quietly calculating the right time to strike and with even more deadly force than the loud complaints of an angry person letting loose.

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