Friday, March 30, 2007

Hearts Are Heavy Now, Dear Lord

Matt, Cinta, and Mark, Evanston, IL, November 1982
Sob! Can you hear my heart ripping to pieces? Can you feel my pain? I just got off the phone with Mark, who's in Indianapolis. Years before my nephew Josiah came along, Mark was my first "son." Not that Josiah replaced Mark, for no such thing could or would ever happen. Mark has grown into a fine young man of 25, and Josiah has grown into a bright 8-year old. But what these two boys have in common, though, is that I held and cradled them in my arms within days of their being born, and I helped raise them. Next thing I knew, they stole my heart while I wasn't looking.

I'd been waiting impatiently to call Mark. I sensed the urgency of the call, but with our vastly different time zones, I had to wait as I didn't want to call him at 2 o'clock in the morning. I did such a good job distracting myself that I almost lost track of time. Dang! My heart pounded as my fingers raced to dial the number. The phone rang several times, but there was no answer. "Darn it; I waited too late to call," I thought. Finally, I heard his voice. "Hello?"

"Mark!", I half-yelled in relief. Hi! It's Cinta!" Mark said something inaudible and then there was silence for about a few seconds. "Hello? Mark?", I said. "Hi; I had to go outside to get a better reception," he replied. "I heard you're going to Iraq!" "Yeah; we're getting shipped out today."

My conversation with Mark lasted all of five minutes. Then I heard, "I've gotta go. They're calling us." "You're leaving?", was my futile attempt at prolonging the inevitable disconnection. "Yeah; they're already getting into formation." UGH!

"You be careful, Mark! You take care. I love you!" "I love you, too." He promised to e-mail me if and when he got a chance. Then silence. The disconnection has been completed. Sob!

Today is March 30, 2007. This is not a good way to end this day. Sob! Before I go to sleep, I will say a prayer tonight and every night and ask GOD to keep and protect you, Mark, and to bring you back to us safely.

I found this prayer, which I feel is appropriate.

Hearts are heavy now, dear Lord
For WAR is looming there.
Our prayers are calling out to you,
Our thoughts too much to bear.
Be with our loved ones--THEY NEED YOU.
Guide them, lead them, see them through.
Bless our leader, for we know,
He asks Your blessings, and needs them so.
Protect the innocent, shield their lives,
As bombs and missiles streak the skies.
Open our hearts and fill us with grace,
Guard our loved ones in that place.
This I say, in earnest prayer,
I know YOU'RE there.

When Joy Turns To Tragedy

Our diverse community mourns the loss of the four Korean students who lost their lives at Forbidden Island. Seventeen students from schools all over Saipan (high school and college) went on what was to be a joyous outing at Forbidden Island and ended up with the Ocean snatching away and snuffing out the lives of four young, talented, and popular students. The CNMI community mourns with the Korean community.

I attended the funeral service of Ku, the student who was buried here on Saipan. The hospital chapel was full of people. The tents were crowded as well. I stood behind the hearse in one of the two lines that formed behind the hearse. Mourners lined up to view the body. I decided to remain at a respectful distance and allowed the many friends, relatives, faculty, staff, and students of Northern Marianas College (NMC) who knew Ku to say their last goodbyes while the precious seconds ticked away. Life can be so unfair! So sad! :(

I ran into my friend Jun, who is a student at NMC. My heart broke as I listened to him tearfully recount what Ku meant to him. They had known each other since their Marianas High School days. "He was like a brother to me," he said. How helpless I felt that I couldn't take his pain away! I knew that he was struggling, refusing to accept life's awful new reality that no longer included Ku.

I ran into another friend who works for the College who also said that Ku was an incredibly talented musician. She said that Ku wanted to bring the Korean community together, so he organized the outing for that purpose. Then she said, "He did succeed in bringing the Korean community together -- only not in the way he meant to." :(

Hearing people talk about Ku made me even sadder that I never got to know him or any of the others who lost their lives. Often, we get so caught up in life's "business" that we take life for granted. Thus, when joy turns to tragedy, we are jolted and reminded about the important things in life.

My parting message to Jun was to try twice as hard in school and to succeed for himself as well as for his friend Ku. I heard it said that death is often hardest on those who are left behind. I hope Jun and the poor families, friends, and relatives of the students find some peace and comfort soon.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Class of '97 Law School Reunion, University of Minnesota

Yesterday was Angelo's one-year anniversary since he moved to the CNMI! I read his blog in which he mentioned some of the highlights of his one-year here. Then I read Brad's blog and he mentioned about an old friend from the past calling him up out of the blue. Yesterday, I had a combination of both happen to me.

Daisie, my chief of staff, took a phone call and asked me if I knew a Joe Henderson and would I take a call from him. My reaction was, "Joe Henderson?! Oh, My God! Yes, for sure!" Joe is a good friend of mine from the University of Minnesota Law School and the last time I spoke to him was when we graduated in 1997! Joe told me that he predicted to Daisie what my reaction would be upon hearing his name and Daisie confirmed that his prediction was right.

Joe called to inform me that he and some Law School chums are trying to get the Class of '97 together for a 10-year class reunion on April 19 (that's right, next month!) and he was assigned to track me down. He said that it would be such a coup to get me to come to the reunion.

He mentioned what he had to go through to finally track me down (he googled my name; he got on a government site; called the Governor's Office--until he ended up calling the Washington Rep's Office. He said he told them, "I'm trying to track down a person name Cinta Kaipat." He was told, "You mean, the member of the Legislature?" He said, "I guess so." He didn't know of my recent election to the House of Representatives and I didn't inform the Alumni Association either. Then he said, "By the way, what time is it there?" They told him, "It's 4:30 in the morning," to which he replied, "OH....! No wonder they don't answer their phones!" I kept calling the Governor's Office!

Joe was one of my first friends in Law School. He was the life of the party; he was someone everyone wanted to be friends with. We were in Section 2B together, arguably, the Section to party with in law school. Hey -- watch it now. We did take our studies seriously, still, though perhaps not as seriously perhaps as the folks in Section A. LOL! (Hi, Matt!) But, Joe was a real hoot! He sang back-up choir to Chakka Khan at President Clinton's first inauguration; drove in his motorcade when Clinton came to speak at the Target Center in Minnesota, and he does a dead-on voice impersonation of Neil Diamond! (You owe me a song, Joe!)

Anyway, Joe, if you're reading this, it was GREAT to hear your voice again! Though I can't join you all this time, perhaps the next one (15-year anniversary, perhaps?). I wish you and the Class of '97 much success. Have a few for me!

Incidentally, if my old study partner, Senator Mee Moua (I don't know her married name now) shows up for the reunion, please give her my contact info (e-mail:

Hey, Joe, another thing I forgot to tell you -- I saw Greg Rice twice on Fox News. I think he was on the "O'Riley Factor" one time. (Greg was an ex-CIA agent who was in our graduating class also.) Tell him I saw him way out here in the Pacific in the middle of well, LOTS and LOTS of water!

And CONGRATULUATIONS on your upcoming nuptials. Wish I could be there for that, too!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Congratulations To The Guam and CNMI Men's National Soccer Teams!!!

Congratulations, indeed, to the two teams -- to Guam for eventually prevailing in the match 4-3 and to the CNMI for hanging in there with Guam's younger and more experienced soccer players for 90 minutes of thrilling excitement for the crowd. Our CNMI team did so well considering the very short period of time they had to either really learn the game or learn the game for the first time. Congratulations also to Coach Ziggy and to the helpers and sponsors. Beautify CNMI! was out there in maroon shirts and yellow shirts to cheer on Angelo, Brad and our whole CNMI team. Well done, Boys! Here are a few pictures I took of the game.The CNMI!'s newest and most favorite coach!Go Brad!!! Ever seen this guy look this serious before?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Come All And Support Our CNMI Men's National Soccer Team Play Against Guam!

Sunday, March 24, 2006, 4 p.m., Oleai Track & Field Complex. If you do nothing else THIS Sunday, then go to this. Let's all go and support Angelo, Brad and the rest of our CNMI Men's National Soccer team play against Guam. Be part of history!The CNMI men's national soccer team at practice at the airport field.
Where's Angelo? Mentally kick this soccer ball across the field to the guy directly in the ball's path. Now we've found Angelo!Angelo has the ball now. Go Angelo! Bend it like Beckham!Brad practicing some of those winning moves on the sidelines.He catches me taking pictures and comes over to say hello. He looks better than he sounded. Darn Asian flu!His teammate Aaron Lewis (Very nice to meet you, Aaron!) also came over to say hello. Sorry about the broken collar bone. Hope you mend fast. is calling. Gotta get back to practice! :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another Gorgeous Saipan Sunset

Promoting Literacy and Responsible Pet Ownership At Kobler Elementary School

Rep. Cinta Kaipat. Kobler Elementary School has been promoting literacy this month and several community leaders have visited the School to read to the children. My turn came yesterday. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and read the kids books that help promote responsible pet ownership. I read to several classes from Kinder all through 4th grade. Morgan Rose, reporter for Flame Tree TV, joined me in the middle part of the reading marathon. We had such a blast with the kids! Incidentally, check out the Beautify CNMI! bulletin board in the Kobler Elementary School Office. It looks like the "beauty virus" has thoroughly infected Principal Eric Evangelista and the School. Cool!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tinian's Best-Kept Secrets

Aaahhh...After the public hearing, we sat in the backyard enjoying Mony's outstanding "Shrimp ala Mony" and Chicken Quesadillas. Order these and you won't go wrong!This is Mony, who not only picked us up when we arrived on the ferry and took us to the Hotel, but here he is bartending for us also. Mony wears many hats.Some more yummy chasers.Debbie's big heart is as big as her smile. No doubt, our stay at The Fleming Hotel was enhanced by the personal service from this terrific lady. She is Tinian's "other best-kept secret." Debbie is the youngest of the Fleming brood. She now runs the Hotel with a staff and spends her time doing anything and everything from the crack of dawn to, well, the crack of dawn. This woman is amazing! She doesn't need much sleep. She is like the Energizer Bunny!Dave & Cil having a good time.So how was that "Shrimp ala Mony"?Guess who I ran into on Tinian? Okay, other than Senator Jude Hofschneider, who stopped by The Fleming Hotel. Yep, I'm talking about Das, the gentleman in the orange shirt. Yup. I knew Das from when he used to work for the Dynasty Hotel and had booked Olomwaay (the family band I managed) to perform there a couple times. It was good to see Das in Tinian. He now works for World Resort on Saipan and said this was the first trip he made to Tinian in a year. That's his friend Natasha from Russia and me.Debbie, Das, and meSenator Jude Hofschneider and DebbieDas and Natasha, right before he got this idea in his head that we should go for Tepanyaki at 3 o'clock in the morning. Debbie's brother-in-law Don Coward joined in and said he'd treat us to a late, late, late Tepanyaki dinner and early, early, early breakfast. I declined, of course, as my bed was calling to me, until Debbie exclaimed, "Come on; we're doing this in your honor!" My bed. Tepanyaki at 3 a.m. My bed...Tepanyaki!Yes, you guessed it. Here's Mony wearing his "Chef's hat!" I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. And yes; I did say 3 a.m., folks!Our gracious hostess hovering around us, catering to our every whim! :) Thanks also to Don for the treat!!! I'm posting below part 1 of 2 videos. I'll post the second video later.