Tuesday, May 29, 2018


(To make oneself a turtle)

Like many other cultures around us, many Chamorros in the old days hid behind a wall of shyness and passivity.

They might be starving, but if you offer them food or drink, they will turn you down two or three times before they accept. And, if you stop offering after only the first or second invitation, they will sit there for an hour looking amorously at the food or drink but never touch it and depart starving still.

This trait is still alive and well among many of our people to this day, although it is disappearing among many others.

Some of the most difficult things to ask a Chamorro is "What do you want? Which do you like? Would you like some?" The answer is often, "Whatever." Very helpful! Not!

So, in the olden days, people would say "Mama' i haggan!" "You're being the turtle!"

You pretend not to want something but you really do. You're just hiding your true desires, like a turtle hides in its shell.

This did not refer only to food, but to anything a person might really want, but pretended not to.

HAGGAN = turtle

MAN (verb marker) + FA' (to make) = MAMA'

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