BAKLAI Temengil says the Festival of Pacific Arts, or FestPac, allows the islands to share their cultures and find ways to sustain them.
But she also believes that we must not wait for four years to share island culture. FestPac is held every four years.
â€œWe must practice our way of life as we have always done it in the past every day,â€ she said. â€œJust be who we are as people. The way we live our lives and our interaction with each other to survive and sustain our humanity and our natural ways in our islands and among ourselves as people. Letâ€™s not wait another four years to present our culture, like a fashion show or a performance, but live through the process in our everyday life â€” our cultural practices and the way we interact with each other that have been passed down by our grandparents and their parents that we still practice today.â€
She said everyone must do more with respect to culture and sustaining island cultures.
As one of Palauâ€™s delegates to the recently held Guam FestPac, Baklai said many good things took place during the event and several issues were raised that could help improve it next time.
On Guam, she said the Mechesil Belau under the leadership of Bilung Gloria Salii made a strong impact. In Palau, the Queen Bilung is a key element to ensure that the traditional womenâ€™s council is involved in community-based organizations (eldebechel) and in non-traditional organizations as well.
â€œWith the involvement of our traditions in all that we do,â€ Baklai said, â€œwe will always do the right thing especially when we are working together.â€
She said it is Palauâ€™s way of life to include culture/tradition and the eldersâ€™ involvement in community undertakings, and this should still be practiced today.
Baklai Temengilâ€™s is into culture and sports. In 1998 she was executive director for the Micronesian Games.
During those years, she worked with then-Palau Vice President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr.,Â Â Education Minister Billy G. Kuartei and many other leaders including those in the Palau National Congress and the state governments.
She also worked with the first Palau National Olympic Committee whose president was Alexander Merep, and board members Bill Keldermans, Frank Kyota, Laura Mangham, Ernestine Rengiil as well as many other sports icons of Palau.
In 2013, President Remengesau appointed her minister of community and cultural affairs.
She said she doesnâ€™t want Palau to lose its cultural livelihood, island way of life and traditions.
â€œWe must continue to thrive and sustain who we are as a people even with the changes in our daily lives because of technology and the thousands of visitors coming to Palau every year, and even though many of us leave Palau for school or whatever reason. We must retain our true identity and our love or passion for it so we donâ€™t lose or take it for granted. We must feel and know the urgency to keep it in the midst of changes that are constantly happening by speaking our language and acting our way of life in treating each other. Our fundamental cultural principles and values that raised our parents and their parents must continue to be part of our vision for ourselves and Palau.â€