"A Visionary Icon"
Shelly Ann Santiago
December 7th, 2009
PACIFICTIMES (Pacific Times Magazine): Håfa Adai, Mr.
Perez. How are you today?
NORBERT PEREZ: Håfa Adai Shelly.. I am well. Thank you
PACIFICTIMES: And how is (Graciela) Mrs. Perez? Is she
enjoying the weather and the beaches on Maui?
NORBERT PEREZ: You bet. And she is fine, too. Maui is
so beautiful, especially this time of the year.
PACIFICTIMES: I am so glad that you will be spending the
holidays with us here in Hawaii.
NORBERT PEREZ: We are too. My son Andrew will be here
Christmas Day for a Basketball Tournament in Kona. After the games, he will spend a week with us in Honolulu along with Sonny
and his family.
PACIFICTIMES: Great. Will you be returning to Washington
DC after the holidays?
NORBERT PEREZ: Yes. I expect to be in Washington until
the end of February 2010. We have a planned seminar for Homeland Security, which Grace and I will host.
PACIFICTIMES: There is a buzz that you will be returning
to the islands instead of a permanent stay in the DC area. It this true?
NORBERT PEREZ: It is. Grace and I were in DC in October
and we honestly could not stand the hustle and bustle of big City life. Sure we enjoyed the shopping, the museums, the fine
arts and the restaurants but that gets old after a while.
PACIFICTIMES: So does that mean that both of you will
become residents of our aloha state?
NORBERT PEREZ: I'm afraid so. Grace needs to finalize
some family matters in Panama before joining me on Maui.
PACIFICTIMES: That will be neat. Do you guys have plans
what to do?
NORBERT PEREZ: Well, we met this Princeton University
professor while in DC and she offered us some remarkable ideas. She happens to be one intelligent and talented character.
PACIFICTIMES: Do tell.
NORBERT PEREZ: Of course. It's quite funny. When we told
her that we owned 7-regional web magazines, she went totally bonkers. She asked if we realized the power we wield through
these publications? She reiterated that infamous quote how the 'pen was mightier than the sword'.
PACIFICTIMES: The pen IS mightier than the sword and can
be extremely profitable, too. Look at Rupert Murdoch.
NORBERT PEREZ: Anyway, she advised us to work the magazines
full-time, promoting our beliefs, our ideals, and our philosophies to the entire world. Of course, I agreed with her completely
but convincing Grace was a major hurdle. She is the BOSS and her decision is the law in our home.
PACIFICTIMES: From the outside looking in, let me tell
you. You are such an inspiration for many in the islands. Look at the Guam Award, The Ancient Order of the Chamori. I remembered
it being called The Ancient Order of the ChamoRRI. Why was it changed? Simply because it was wrong all along. Stupidly Wrong.
Your cultural arguments and your websites opened-up a can of worms which made our people more self-conscious.
NORBERT PEREZ: I'd like to believe that Shelly.
PACIFICTIMES: Well it is true, Mr. Perez. Your Guam Jokes:
U Might B from GUAM. Sure many on Guam are critical. But the jokes are TRUE. I visit the site all the time and I find them
to be honest, funny and amusing.
NORBERT PEREZ: Thanks, Shelly. A lot of the local people
hate the jokes...calling them demeaning and unfair. I get emails telling me so. But the jokes are symbolic of the negative
traits and habits that our own people have adopted throughout the centuries. Making fun of our people is not my favorite menu,
but I do what I have to do to strengthen their resolve.
PACIFICTIMES: I admire you very much, Mr. Perez. Remember
that PDN Letter To The Editor you oped about the Taotaomo'nas and how folks on Guam, Saipan, Rota & Tinian believed them
to be evil spirits? Remember how you blamed the suruhanas, the suruhanus, the missionaries and the church? You don't know
this but KUAM did a feature story on it and brought in Father David Quitugua to respond to your accusations. So although you
were in Panama, you still impact our people....in a very big way.
NORBERT PEREZ: I do, huh?
PACIFICTIMES: Absolutely. And that PDN letter you posted
regarding the military buildup. Boy...that article brought huge criticisms locally and abroad. You were correct, however in
calling Guam the island of Beggars and EVERYONE knew it. Whether we like it or not, hearing the truth (black or white) hurts.
NORBERT PEREZ: You're telling me. I got so many phone
calls and emails decrying my posture and how I was pushing our island to the brink of bankruptcy. I had nothing to do with
Guam's financial woes. I have been away for Eleven years. How can they blame me for the government's incompetence and the
lack of leadership?
PACIFICTIMES: Well, we brought it all upon ourselves.
We continue to elect the same corrupt and incompetent people.
NORBERT PEREZ: Thanks Shelly. I appreciate you support
PACIFICTIMES: There are many on Guam who are hopeful that
you'd come home and save us but.....I beg to differ. I am of the opinion that you were born for bigger and much greater circumstance.
Because of your work on the ancestral remains; your healing chant line; your language network and your children's legends,
you are quite popular and appreciated in Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand and many Pacific islands. You assisted in getting
their remains returned by the Bishop Museum; you highlighted their languages; you put meaning into their chants; and you planted
some beautiful myths into their cultures. You are AWESOME....and I salute you. At any rate, did your professor friend convinced
NORBERT PEREZ: Certainly. She is now more Gungho than
PACIFICTIMES: Really? That is fantastic. So what is next
for the Chamori-Panamanian connection? (excuse my punt)
NORBERT PEREZ: That's funny, Shelly. Upon completing our
Seminar in DC, we hope to sell our Homeland Security Program. A host of parties from the International market have expressed
interests but we need to be cautious about selling High Technology secrets to foreign companies and governments. Our attorneys
are researching the laws regarding intellectual property rights; proprietary information and restrictions. Telepathy, Telekinesis,
Infrared and other advances may fall under the intellectual property rights provisions requiring federal approval.
PACIFICTIMES: Simply remarkable. Anything else?
NORBERT PEREZ: Grace and I have already laid out a plan
to shore-up our Magazines, worldwide. Arabia Times Magazine heads that list in our agenda.
PACIFICTIMES: Really? Why?
NORBERT PEREZ: Well, I am so intrigued by the on-going
Peace Process in the Middle East and I hope to weigh-in to assist in that endeavor. Why? Because Arabia Times Magazine is
based out of Lebanon and I am sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian and Jewish peoples.
PACIFICTIMES: I see. Will Mrs. Perez be actively involved?
NORBERT PEREZ: Grace will have her hands full. She will
pioneer the new Ms. George Magazine and the new Jolita Amerika Magazine. Ms. George is our Women's forum and Jolita Amerika
is our South American Voice Network.
PACIFICTIMES: Don't you also own Europa Times Magazine?
China Democrat Magazine? And Kiwi Times (NZ) Magazine?
NORBERT PEREZ: Yes. We own them and they will be re-vitalized,
PACIFICTIMES: What kind of changes can we expect? And
what time frame?
NORBERT PEREZ: The Seven Magazines, including Pacific
Times, have been in existence since 2000 and gave us an electronic presence on the Internet. Many of the articles, the pages,
and the formats have remained essentially the same due to the lack of storage space. We plan to purchase several large computers
so we can establish our own ISP, our own servers; our own URLs and go interactive. Hopefully by June 2010, we can finalize
our equipment modifications with an overall network cut-over.
PACIFICTIMES: Fantastic. What do you mean by Interactive?
NORBERT PEREZ: We plan to incorporate sounds and videos
into our magazines to make them virtual and alive. These are necessary to afford us Interactive advertising, which will be
the source of our revenues.
PACIFICTIMES: I don't understand. Can you offer us some
NORBERT PEREZ: I can try. The other day, I was explaining
to Grace what virtual will mean. Since she will be directing Ms. George and Jolita Amerika Magazines, we will send a Video
team to record the native dances and costume wear of the Natives in Panama, Peru and other locations. We can Stream-Live these
videos through our magazines. Or she can showcase photo libraries of women attires worldwide. Or we can Stream-Live the secret
of tying a sarong or wearing a thong.
PACIFICTIMES: Don't they do that with NBC, CBS and ABC?
NORBERT PEREZ: They do and they don't. Remember these
Media are News Organizations. We are not. Magazines are much more in-depth with their coverages.
PACIFICTIMES: I see.
NORBERT PEREZ: Additionally, we hope to showcase and highlight
movers and shakers around the world through a global forum.
PACIFICTIMES: Isn't that being done by other publications?
NORBERT PEREZ: Yes but we plan to interlink our sites
for a wider audience.
PACIFICTIMES: Interesting but unique.
NORBERT PEREZ: I think so and we are so excited.
PACIFICTIMES: What are you doing now to meet those goals?
NORBERT PEREZ:Right now? Nothing. We want to relax and
enjoy special moments with our family. The new adventures happen after the holidays.
PACIFICTIMES: Kool. You know, I learned from Regina that
you may be a candidate for Mayor of Maui County in 2010. Is this vibe in your future?
NORBERT PEREZ: Well, the idea is still an option. Supporters
and friends here on Maui have organized a grass-root team to explore that possibility. Many folks here and around the State
are looking for change. They are not wanting a so-called POLITICAL LEADER, they are wanting a FACILITATOR.
PACIFICTIMES: What does that mean?
NORBERT PEREZ: They are wanting someone who can bring
people together for the common good.
PACIFICTIMES: Is there a chance that you might get elected?
NORBERT PEREZ: Well that all depends on how we organize
and how we structure our campaign. According to some of my team members, a well-organized core movement with a well-defined
political goal (something similar to the Obama campaign) can work. Most importantly, something equating the Hi-Tech magic
that Representative Ron Paul of Texas introduced.
PACIFICTIMES: Wasn't he that Republican Ph.D. from Texas
who ran for President?
NORBERT PEREZ: One and the same. He was so Kool with the
younger crowd that he managed to collect $millions in contributions through the Internet. Besides we love his web site and
we plan to incorporate some of his programs.
PACIFICTIMES: Well, since I live in Lahaina, you have
my vote and my support.
NORBERT PEREZ: Thanks Shelly. But please note that this
political endeavor is still in its infancy and may not translate into reality.
PACIFICTIMES: I know. But tell me....if the elections
were held this very minute, how many votes can you muster?
NORBERT PEREZ: You mean right now?
NORBERT PEREZ: Well, I have lived here over Two years
and have made many, many friends. I have helped many people too. If the elections were held today, I could probably secure
around 2000 votes island-wide, especially from Lana'i and Moloka'i.
PACIFICTIMES: That's alot. I think when Mayor Tavares
was elected, she only garnered 12,000 votes. So you're at a terrific starting point.
NORBERT PEREZ: Yes. And with some advertisements and house-to-house
campaigning, we could add more to that figure.
PACIFICTIMES: I agree. How exciting. What Maui restaurants
do you frequent?
NORBERT PEREZ: Well, for breakfast, we usually eat at
Tasty Crust in Wailuku. They have their World famous Banana Pancakes. Yummy yum-yum.
PACIFICTIMES: I love those pancakes, too. How about lunch
NORBERT PEREZ: Well, I have lived here for over two years
and I usually visit my Compadre, Ray Rivera. He and his lovely wife, Iva, live in Kahului. Depending on what we have a taste
for that day, I normally shop and we cook at Ray and Iva's place. We call this the Chamori Impromtu Fiesta.
PACIFICTIMES: That's kool. So let's say you have an inkling
for Chicken or Shrimp Kelaguin, you just buy the ingredients and cook em up there?
NORBERT PEREZ: Yep. Sometimes, we have dinner there. In
any case, I would cook up some Ham Hock and Mongo Beans and bring it there. Sorta like Pot Luck, Chamori Style.... And it
always turns out to be a party.
PACIFICTIMES: Are there any other folks from Guam living
NORBERT PEREZ: You bet. Quite a few and we get together
regularly....and sometimes at a beach. You know, for Liberation Day, for Thanksgiving, etc.
PACIFICTIMES: Name some....
NORBERT PEREZ: Well, there's Mary Peredo who works at
Hawaii USA and there's Bernie San Nicholas Cruz who is the Principal at Christ Chucrh Catholic School in Kahului. Then there's
Sister Angie and Sister Candie from St. Theresa Church in Kihei. Many, many others.... There's Fred and Jenny Gutierrez who
own a place in Kihei. There's Shawn, who is the son of Veronica Jones (Veronica Way in Jonestown); grandson of Ken Jones of
Guam's J & G Enterprise.
PACIFICTIMES: Wow. More than enough for a Party or Gupot,
NORBERT PEREZ: More than enough and many more folks that
I haven't identified.
PACIFICTIMES: Just wanted to inform you that Vice Speaker
B.J. Cruz recently introduced a bill calling for a special election to determined if the People of Guam truly want the Military
buildup. Don't you find that odd?
NORBERT PEREZ: Not especially. Whatever the results, it
is welcomed news for Democracy on Guam. It might be a referendum too late but the Senator has the heart and best intentions
for our people. I applaud him for doing so.
PACIFICTIMES: Again, I should emphasize that your opinions
about the buildup may be a telling point. Don't you agree?
NORBERT PEREZ: I thank you though I do not agree.
PACIFICTIMES: Well, it sure looks that way. Remember your
letter printed in the PDN about Telemedicine and how you pushed for it 10 years ago? It seems to me and many others that you
are a man ahead of your time; an intuitive person; a seer; a visionary. We had a person once just like you and he was former
Governor Ricky Bordallo. No wonder the connection with Debbie.
NORBERT PEREZ: Many want to believe that but I don't.
PACIFICTIMES: It has to be. Your Taotaomo'na Chant Line
which you introduced over 15-years ago is quite popular and worldwide too. Your Language Programs, again introduced over 15-years
ago are big on the web. And of course your myths and your magazines. What more can I say?
NORBERT PEREZ: Thanks but....
PACIFICTIMES: Here is my take on this, Mr. Perez. You
are indeed, an intellectual visionary. Often times, you shock people. No. The operative word is 'SCARE'. Most normal folks
welcome your views though some would characterize you as 'CRAZY' or 'KADUKU'. It usually takes many years later before they
acknowledge your talking points. It is the same story for all of the world's great minds.
NORBERT PEREZ: If you say so.
PACIFICTIMES: You are always above the fray; far ahead
and pioneering. You seem to always be at the leading edge. Sorry that our people did not appreciate your talents and your
ideas. Sorry that we did not espouse your views to showcase our island as a world destination and a leader. Sorry that we
could not see beyond our noses to realize the visions you delivered. I remembered your Cable TV interview with Debbie about
the Royal Wedding. I remembered you saying that your idea of an island fairy tale was not John Wayne and his bride galloping
off into the sunset in a horse; nor was it Sleeping Beauty and her Prince Charming. I can understand you wanting to create
our own Fairy Tale and frankly, you did. Sorry that our people were not smart enough to comprehend the values and the dignity
you perpetuated. Sorry that our people could not understand the honor and the pride you wanted them to own.
NORBERT PEREZ: Thank you Shelly.
PACIFICTIMES: No. Thank you Mr. Perez. Thank you for the
opportunity to interview you. You are the most purposeful and remarkable leader of our times. History will define you as much
more and will surely grant you the greatest credit of all. ...As a true Maga'Saina.
NORBERT PEREZ: Again, thanks and best wishes for the holidays.
PACIFICTIMES: Have a blessed Christmas and a Wonderful