"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 for asking.
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
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
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
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 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 your support and candor.
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 Grace?
NORBERT PEREZ: Certainly. She is now more Gungho than I am.
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
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, as well.
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 examples?
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
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
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 or dinner?
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
PACIFICTIMES: Are there any other folks from Guam living on Maui?
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, right?
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
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 military 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. 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' people. Most folks welcome your views as radical
though some would characterize you as 'CRAZY' or 'KADUKU'. It usually takes years later before they acknowledge your premise
and talking points. It is the same story for all of the world's great minds. And most of them die before their contributions
are even acknowledged.
NORBERT PEREZ: If you say so.
PACIFICTIMES: You are always above the fray; far ahead and pioneering. You seem
to always be on the leading edge. Sorry that our people did not appreciate your talents and your ideas. Sorry that we did
not espouse your views to highlight our island as a leader and a world-class destination. Sorry that we could not see beyond
our noses to realize the visions you offered. 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
on a horse; nor was it Sleeping Beauty and her Prince Charming. I can understand you wanting to create our own Chamori Fairy
Tale and frankly, you did. Regrets that our people were not smart enough to comprehend the values and the dignity you perpetuated.
Regrets that our people could not understand the honor and the pride you wanted them to own.
NORBERT PEREZ: Thank you Shelly.
PACIFICTIMES: I also remembered your position on Tattoos and how our island was
different from all the others because we did not subscribe to Tattoos. While each and every island culture practiced this
form of art, you stated that we were different. And why should we be just like everyone else? I remembered your speech at
UOG about telepathy and how someone questioned you for proof that our ancestors were telepathic. Your response was: Why is
the burden upon us to prove that we were telepathic, the burden should be upon the non-believers to prove that we weren't.
NORBERT PEREZ: Thanks. I remembered that talk.
PACIFICTIMES: 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 GREAT Maga'Saina.
NORBERT PEREZ: Again, thanks and best wishes for the holidays.
PACIFICTIMES: Have a blessed Christmas and a Wonderful New Year.