Archive for May 2005

Words

May 31, 2005

enygma81: Is vagarity a word? Do you mean vagary? I think most girls would pt to hold it until they can find a clean bathroom. I know I would.

I

have a love for words. I have for most of my life, perhaps because I like to talk. I love jokes and stories and the way words can be manipulated to effect (not affect) a response. It is, I believe, the single most important aspect of being human because it is the way we communicate and that is what separates from most other animals.

Granted, many animals have their own communication system. But I think most are used to express basic and immediate ideas: Food over here by the picnic table. Danger, hyenas approaching. I wanna mate with you, you hairy monkey you. Or maybe even I love you. But humans are able to communicate abstract thoughts without the limitations of time. We can recall the past or talk about future dreams. I have yet to read any studies on whales discussing winter vacation plans in Baja California.

So I love words. And I really love new words. I sometimes come across new words that don’t seem to mean anything, only to find later that they really are words. I also find words that seem to have meaning but actually aren’t in my Webster’s. Which of the following words are actual words? No fair looking in a dicionary.

  • simulacrum : image, representation.
  • vagarity : quality or condition of randomness; whimisicality.
  • musicality : sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music.
  • argumentive : given to arguments.
  • signage : signs or a system of such signs.
  • randomocity : nature or quality of randomness.
  • synchronicity : synchronism of events that appear to be connected but have no demonstrable causal relationship.
  • verbosity : being given to wordiness.

Anyway, yesterday, Memorial Day, the family and I went to our local shopping mall to get some clothes for Newman. He’s going back to Japan and will be living with his elder brother, working part time somewhere as he tries to figure out what he wants to do with the future. Later, Newman, Chipmonk, Mrs. Riceball and I went to our local watering hole for dinner. We ate. We talked. I grabbed a few stuffed animals in the crane game. Then we went home.

It was an amazingly simple day, the kind that I look forward to these days when work, responsibilities, indeed life in general are so hectic.

Answers: The real words are simulacrum, musicality, signage, synchronicity, verbosity. Argumentive is not a word, but argumentative is. Randomocity and vagarity (or more commonly, vagarities) are non-existent but can be read or heard from time to time. It should be randomness and vagaries.

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Truth or Dare

May 30, 2005

C

azzaC‘s plays a game on her site called Truth or Dare, although I wouldn’t really call it a game. It’s more of a challenge. When she announces the game, her readers can accept a challenge: Either a Truth or a Dare. I’ve read some of her previous games and saw what the Dare’s were. I’m too afraid to try them; they can be challenging to one’s pride and self-respect. Hahahhahaha. just kidding… sorta.

Well, being the yellow-bellied coward that I am, I decided to go with Truth, since that is what I try to do here anyway. Below is her question, followed by my Truthful response..

Onigiriman – What is the greatest piece of wisdom you have gained in life – and how did you come to discover/hold that? How has it changed life for you?

Oh, man. This is easier than I thought. Indeed, I wrote about thisa quite a while back, so this will seem like a rerun to some. But my greatest piece of wisdom–and I must stress that this is my piece of wisdom–is that there really is “true love”. I believe in soulmates.

Keep in mind that I realize that we’re all different and we all approach things differently. As a result, reality, as we know it, is based solely on how we interpret the things we see and hear and feel, and the interpretation is always influenced by our point a view, a view that is shpaed by our individual experiences. As such, the O-man’s views are hued by my own personal experiences. So let me tell you about it.

I have had my share of girlfriends. Not a lot, but enough to be able to come to somekind of personal conclusion concerning the male-female relationship. All these previous girls were nice–an obvious statement, because I was attracted to them in the first place–and I began to pick and choose traits that I thought were appealing–or worse, appropriate–in the person that I thought would eventually become my wife. She had to be able to cook, sew, know Japanese, understand Japanese culture, be good with kids, be understanding of my selfish tendancies–such as indulging in drinking and sports–accept that fact that I would be the male in the household, be intelligent with an advanced degree (MA/PhD) in the humanities (no MBAs or engineers, please), and have a good sense of humor. Oh yeah, if she was good looking, that would be a plus…

Anyway, I thought I found her: K’s mother (my first wife). She could cook and sew. She was great with kids. She was born in Japan and so obviously knew Japanese and Japanese culture. She already had an MA in sociology from Meiji University and was working for a PhD in Anthropology at UCLA. She had a sense of humor, as well. The only possible flaw that she might have had was that she was older than me by 8 years. But her age perhaps allowed her to accept my selfish tendencies. She was old-school. I don’t mean to suggest that she walked three feet behind me when we stepped out, but she was more accepting of the old ways. She was also the product of contemporary and higher education in the US, so she made sure that there was some sort of balance in our household. Indeed, I learned many of the finer points of cooking from her, as well as cleaning and rearing children. So in case you think I was a chauvanistic pig, I wasn’t… well not that much, anyway… To top it all off, she was a “half”: Japanese and German. She was not unattractive. But even better, as a half, she had been subjected to discrimination while growing up in Japan, and so was sympathetic to my issues as a minority in the US. Sounds perfect, right?

Wrong…

My first wife seemed perfect to me in that she fulfilled those qualities that I thought would complement me. How stupid of me. There were two things that bothered me, and it progressively worsened as our marriage went along. One: she had little love for my mother. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but just let me say that since she was old school, she expected my mother to come to help her out when our daughter was born. It is traditional in Japan–and many other customs–for a mother to help out a daughter or daughter-in-law in such a manner. But my mother, for reasons of work and health (she had a bad heart at the time), could not come, and my ex held it against her until my mother died a few years ago. She did not treat my mother well when they were together, and it was coming to a head.

The other thing is just as important. While she fulfilled my “objective”, albeit silly, criteria, she–or perhaps I should say we–lacked one ingredient so crucial in any marriage: Passion. Our marriage was pretty cut and dry. I thought that we fulfilled each other’s needs and I hoped the passion would develop over time–as many expect in similar marriages, especially arranged marriages. But I was wrong. We had a healthy respect for each other, but the passion never developed. When I decided to come back to the States to teach, she wanted to remain in Japan; she insisted that this was normal, that many Japanese couples live apart–in Japanese, it’s called tanshin funin–and she fully expected us to remain married. Well, for me, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I could not live with that attitude toward our marriage. If either of us felt passion for the other, one of us probably would have relented, but neither of us did. We didn’t have the “passion” to stay together. Economically, intellectually, adademically, being apart is fine. But two people who feel passion for each other could never live in separte countries, don’t you think? Indeed, our individual decisions suggested that we had no intention or desire to encourage our relationship to “develop”. If you were to talk to her, I’m sure she would have her story to tell–and I’m sure she has–but this is my Xanga, and this is my side of the story…

Anyway, as you might imagine, I was pretty down on love. I had tried and failed. I had thought I had found the right person, but it didn’t work out. No Passion. And I’m sure that many of you have heard–as I had–that marriages run out of steam, that they get into a rut. I figured my first marriage pretty much fit the mold. Yes, “true love” did not exist… until the moment I instantly knew that M was the one for me, my soulmate. It was after I had worked out at the sports club where M was an aerobics instructor. A bunch of us, including M, went out drinking afterwards–beer tastes really good after a long work out. We had gone out as a group before, but this time, M made it a point to sit next to me at the table. I really wasn’t sure if she deliberately sat next to me, but that’s the impression I got and it made me feel special. After drinking, we were heading home and as we walked toward the train station, she slipped her hand into mine, and something in my heart went bang. I can’t really explain it, but I knew at that very moment that I had to marry this woman. I probably sounds corny to cynics, and believe me, I used to be one of those cynics–my first marriage had convinced me that–even if all the components seemed to be in place–there is no such thing as true love. But this one simple act of holding my hand convinced me that I was wrong. The feeling was warm and exciting and reassuring. Yes, there is such a thing as true love, and I will never forget the sensation when I first felt it.

So this is my piece of wisdom–there is such a thing as true love and that there is a soulmate out there for you. Some may call this piece of wisdom a piece of you-know-what, but that’s okay. I have lived it, I have experienced it, and nothing anyone says will convince me otherwise.

Don’t get me wrong. Everything is not perfect. We have our struggles, our issues, and we must work them out. But this insight into Love has changed me profoundly, for it has convinced me to give my all to work out any problem that arise. I am not about to throw up my hands and give up, because I know there is no other woman who will make me feel the way that M does… But if anyone wants to try… Oops, too much truth… Hahahah, Just kidding!

So CazzaC, hows that for Truth: A guy fessing up to believing in true love and soulmates.

Truth or Dare

May 30, 2005

C

azzaC‘s plays a game on her site called Truth or Dare, although I wouldn’t really call it a game. It’s more of a challenge. When she announces the game, her readers can accept a challenge: Either a Truth or a Dare. I’ve read some of her previous games and saw what the Dare’s were. I’m too afraid to try them; they can be challenging to one’s pride and self-respect. Hahahhahaha. just kidding… sorta.

Well, being the yellow-bellied coward that I am, I decided to go with Truth, since that is what I try to do here anyway. Below is her question, followed by my Truthful response..

Onigiriman – What is the greatest piece of wisdom you have gained in life – and how did you come to discover/hold that? How has it changed life for you?

Oh, man. This is easier than I thought. Indeed, I wrote about thisa quite a while back, so this will seem like a rerun to some. But my greatest piece of wisdom–and I must stress that this is my piece of wisdom–is that there really is “true love”. I believe in soulmates.

Keep in mind that I realize that we’re all different and we all approach things differently. As a result, reality, as we know it, is based solely on how we interpret the things we see and hear and feel, and the interpretation is always influenced by our point a view, a view that is shpaed by our individual experiences. As such, the O-man’s views are hued by my own personal experiences. So let me tell you about it.

I have had my share of girlfriends. Not a lot, but enough to be able to come to somekind of personal conclusion concerning the male-female relationship. All these previous girls were nice–an obvious statement, because I was attracted to them in the first place–and I began to pick and choose traits that I thought were appealing–or worse, appropriate–in the person that I thought would eventually become my wife. She had to be able to cook, sew, know Japanese, understand Japanese culture, be good with kids, be understanding of my selfish tendancies–such as indulging in drinking and sports–accept that fact that I would be the male in the household, be intelligent with an advanced degree (MA/PhD) in the humanities (no MBAs or engineers, please), and have a good sense of humor. Oh yeah, if she was good looking, that would be a plus…

Anyway, I thought I found her: K’s mother (my first wife). She could cook and sew. She was great with kids. She was born in Japan and so obviously knew Japanese and Japanese culture. She already had an MA in sociology from Meiji University and was working for a PhD in Anthropology at UCLA. She had a sense of humor, as well. The only possible flaw that she might have had was that she was older than me by 8 years. But her age perhaps allowed her to accept my selfish tendencies. She was old-school. I don’t mean to suggest that she walked three feet behind me when we stepped out, but she was more accepting of the old ways. She was also the product of contemporary and higher education in the US, so she made sure that there was some sort of balance in our household. Indeed, I learned many of the finer points of cooking from her, as well as cleaning and rearing children. So in case you think I was a chauvanistic pig, I wasn’t… well not that much, anyway… To top it all off, she was a “half”: Japanese and German. She was not unattractive. But even better, as a half, she had been subjected to discrimination while growing up in Japan, and so was sympathetic to my issues as a minority in the US. Sounds perfect, right?

Wrong…

My first wife seemed perfect to me in that she fulfilled those qualities that I thought would complement me. How stupid of me. There were two things that bothered me, and it progressively worsened as our marriage went along. One: she had little love for my mother. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but just let me say that since she was old school, she expected my mother to come to help her out when our daughter was born. It is traditional in Japan–and many other customs–for a mother to help out a daughter or daughter-in-law in such a manner. But my mother, for reasons of work and health (she had a bad heart at the time), could not come, and my ex held it against her until my mother died a few years ago. She did not treat my mother well when they were together, and it was coming to a head.

The other thing is just as important. While she fulfilled my “objective”, albeit silly, criteria, she–or perhaps I should say we–lacked one ingredient so crucial in any marriage: Passion. Our marriage was pretty cut and dry. I thought that we fulfilled each other’s needs and I hoped the passion would develop over time–as many expect in similar marriages, especially arranged marriages. But I was wrong. We had a healthy respect for each other, but the passion never developed. When I decided to come back to the States to teach, she wanted to remain in Japan; she insisted that this was normal, that many Japanese couples live apart–in Japanese, it’s called tanshin funin–and she fully expected us to remain married. Well, for me, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I could not live with that attitude toward our marriage. If either of us felt passion for the other, one of us probably would have relented, but neither of us did. We didn’t have the “passion” to stay together. Economically, intellectually, adademically, being apart is fine. But two people who feel passion for each other could never live in separte countries, don’t you think? Indeed, our individual decisions suggested that we had no intention or desire to encourage our relationship to “develop”. If you were to talk to her, I’m sure she would have her story to tell–and I’m sure she has–but this is my Xanga, and this is my side of the story…

Anyway, as you might imagine, I was pretty down on love. I had tried and failed. I had thought I had found the right person, but it didn’t work out. No Passion. And I’m sure that many of you have heard–as I had–that marriages run out of steam, that they get into a rut. I figured my first marriage pretty much fit the mold. Yes, “true love” did not exist… until the moment I instantly knew that M was the one for me, my soulmate. It was after I had worked out at the sports club where M was an aerobics instructor. A bunch of us, including M, went out drinking afterwards–beer tastes really good after a long work out. We had gone out as a group before, but this time, M made it a point to sit next to me at the table. I really wasn’t sure if she deliberately sat next to me, but that’s the impression I got and it made me feel special. After drinking, we were heading home and as we walked toward the train station, she slipped her hand into mine, and something in my heart went bang. I can’t really explain it, but I knew at that very moment that I had to marry this woman. I probably sounds corny to cynics, and believe me, I used to be one of those cynics–my first marriage had convinced me that–even if all the components seemed to be in place–there is no such thing as true love. But this one simple act of holding my hand convinced me that I was wrong. The feeling was warm and exciting and reassuring. Yes, there is such a thing as true love, and I will never forget the sensation when I first felt it.

So this is my piece of wisdom–there is such a thing as true love and that there is a soulmate out there for you. Some may call this piece of wisdom a piece of you-know-what, but that’s okay. I have lived it, I have experienced it, and nothing anyone says will convince me otherwise.

Don’t get me wrong. Everything is not perfect. We have our struggles, our issues, and we must work them out. But this insight into Love has changed me profoundly, for it has convinced me to give my all to work out any problem that arise. I am not about to throw up my hands and give up, because I know there is no other woman who will make me feel the way that M does… But if anyone wants to try… Oops, too much truth… Hahahah, Just kidding!

So CazzaC, hows that for Truth: A guy fessing up to believing in true love and soulmates.

Weekend Vagarity

May 29, 2005

V

agarity n. 1. the quality or condition of randomness, the tendency to change one’s mind withoug apparent or adequate motive; whimisicality.

Not that no one would be able to figure out this word that does not exist in my dictionary…

When public toilets are filthy

Hey guys. Have you ever stepped into a filthy public toilet–particularly those porta-potties that seem to be overflowing with filth? We, as guys, have the luxury of taking care of business while standing, but have you ever paused to consider how hellacious it must be for women? I mean, seriously! These places have urine splattered all over the place and they often do not have toilet paper. Damn, just thinking about it grosses me out. So what the hell do women have to do to relieve themselves? I finally asked someone and she told me with a straight face: She stands and does it!

I had to ask: Oh… okay. You straddle the seat and hunch down just a little. That I can imagine. But what about those porta-potties. You can’t straddle those toilets. What do you do in those cases?

Well, she still stands. Apparently this girl can and will take a leak standing like a guy, although I’m not too sure of the mechanics involved. And considering the equipment, I can’t imagine they would have very good aim. I should have inquired more on this aspect but I was too shocked and too impressed.

2 truths and 1 lie

Two Truths and One Lie (guess which is the lie): Here are the answers to the question embedded in the survey I filled out last weekend.

  1. I have four (4) degrees from post-secondary schools–um, that means degrees after graduating high school…
    TRUE: Okay, no one fell for this one… I do have four degrees: AA, BA in Japanese, MA in East Asian Literatures and Cultures, and a PhD in Japanese.
  2. I was arrested for a DUI, was subjected to a cavity search and spent 48 hours in county lock-up next to a guy named Lefty.
    FALSE: Lefty was a fish truck driver who used to come by our house on Wednesdays. I have never been next to a guy named Lefty in county lock-up.
  3. I can tie a stem of a maraschino cherry with my tongue–for those of you who know what I’m talkin’ about, know what I’m talking about
    TRUE: I can put the stem in my mouth and tie an overhand knot with my tongue. The myth says that anyone who can do this can also do well a number of other dexterous things with the tongue. I leave the rest to your imagination.

Nerdiness

I am nerdier than 38% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

gyjcwang: oh god…even the O-man has gone over to the nerdy side…

Jason left this comment after I put up my own Asian StarWars name, and it’s been on my mind ever since. Did I actually go over to the nerdy side? Is the force strong in me, just laying dormant? I had to know! Fortuantely, I found this quiz on Taku‘s site. Fortunately, I learned that I am not much of a nerd at all. Indeed, I think that the bulk of this score–38 out of 100–is probably due to the the fact that I actually took the quiz in the first place. You all know how nerdy that is. Speaking of which…

StarWars….

I saw StarWars yesterday. And I must say, I have now seen all 6 episodes in the order they were produced and all in theaters. Do you notice how I am not providing a qualitative assessment? Hmmm. I wonder why. But I will say that the ending should fit episode 4–nee episode 1–like a glove. They provided an explantion of the Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker relationship and why Vader has to wear funeral black even in the summer.

Weekend Vagarity

May 29, 2005

V

agarity n. 1. the quality or condition of randomness, the tendency to change one’s mind withoug apparent or adequate motive; whimisicality.

Not that no one would be able to figure out this word that does not exist in my dictionary…

When public toilets are filthy

Hey guys. Have you ever stepped into a filthy public toilet–particularly those porta-potties that seem to be overflowing with filth? We, as guys, have the luxury of taking care of business while standing, but have you ever paused to consider how hellacious it must be for women? I mean, seriously! These places have urine splattered all over the place and they often do not have toilet paper. Damn, just thinking about it grosses me out. So what the hell do women have to do to relieve themselves? I finally asked someone and she told me with a straight face: She stands and does it!

I had to ask: Oh… okay. You straddle the seat and hunch down just a little. That I can imagine. But what about those porta-potties. You can’t straddle those toilets. What do you do in those cases?

Well, she still stands. Apparently this girl can and will take a leak standing like a guy, although I’m not too sure of the mechanics involved. And considering the equipment, I can’t imagine they would have very good aim. I should have inquired more on this aspect but I was too shocked and too impressed.

2 truths and 1 lie

Two Truths and One Lie (guess which is the lie): Here are the answers to the question embedded in the survey I filled out last weekend.

  1. I have four (4) degrees from post-secondary schools–um, that means degrees after graduating high school…
    TRUE: Okay, no one fell for this one… I do have four degrees: AA, BA in Japanese, MA in East Asian Literatures and Cultures, and a PhD in Japanese.

  2. I was arrested for a DUI, was subjected to a cavity search and spent 48 hours in county lock-up next to a guy named Lefty.
    FALSE: Lefty was a fish truck driver who used to come by our house on Wednesdays. I have never been next to a guy named Lefty in county lock-up.

  3. I can tie a stem of a maraschino cherry with my tongue–for those of you who know what I’m talkin’ about, know what I’m talking about
    TRUE: I can put the stem in my mouth and tie an overhand knot with my tongue. The myth says that anyone who can do this can also do well a number of other dexterous things with the tongue. I leave the rest to your imagination.

Nerdiness

I am nerdier than 38% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

gyjcwang: oh god…even the O-man has gone over to the nerdy side…

Jason left this comment after I put up my own Asian StarWars name, and it’s been on my mind ever since. Did I actually go over to the nerdy side? Is the force strong in me, just laying dormant? I had to know! Fortuantely, I found this quiz on Taku‘s site. Fortunately, I learned that I am not much of a nerd at all. Indeed, I think that the bulk of this score–38 out of 100–is probably due to the the fact that I actually took the quiz in the first place. You all know how nerdy that is. Speaking of which…

StarWars….

I saw StarWars yesterday. And I must say, I have now seen all 6 episodes in the order they were produced and all in theaters. Do you notice how I am not providing a qualitative assessment? Hmmm. I wonder why. But I will say that the ending should fit episode 4–nee episode 1–like a glove. They provided an explantion of the Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker relationship and why Vader has to wear funeral black even in the summer.

"Old Soldiers Never Die…

May 28, 2005

T

hey just fade away.” This famous phrase–uttered by General Douglas Macarthur after being relieved of duty as head of East Asian military operations after WWII–might need to be rephrased for former WWII Japanese soldiers discovered in the Philipines: Old soldiers never die, they live out their lives in isolations, abandoned by the government they served.

According to Japanese news reports yesterday, former soldiers of the old Imperial Japanese Army were found on the island of Mindanao almost 60 years after the war ended. Japanese officials from the embassy have yet to meet them and confirm their story.

You can read it in English in the AP reports, but there are other details found in the Japanese language edition of a number of other newspapers, including Asahi. Apparently, they were members of the 30th Regiment of the 30th Division which was formed in Pyongyang, Korea and especially trained to fight the Russians, but they were sent to the Philippines to fight the Americans in 1944. A year later in April, when they were in a valley known as Malaybalay, they were ordered to “provide for themselves and fight for themselves” 自給自戦. When the war ended half a year later, they were in transit within the mountains and were not able to reunite with the rest of their Division and were left behind. They moved south to an area around Lake Buluan and lived there for the next few decades. It is yet unclear how they survived or if they interacted with the locals in an area controlled by the Moro Islam Liberation Front. Last year, a Japanese businessman involved in the lumber industry discovered these men–now in their 80s–and learned that they had wanted to repatriate to Japan but were afraid of being tried in military court for desertion. Another source has reported that there are more than 40 other former soldiers in the mountain. Complicating matters is the fact that Japanese officials have managed to set up meetings in General Santos City to interview them and confirm their identities, but the two did not appear at the appointed meeting.

Now, I realize that the Imperial Japanese Army caused a lot of pain and suffering throughout the Pacific, certainly in Korea, China, the Philippines and beyond. And for all I know, these guys played a major role in it. Still, if this story turns out to be true, I might feel for a bunch of soldiers who were ordered to “provide for themselves and fight for themselves”–No supplies. No food. No ammunition–then be abandoned by the very military and government that ordered them to fend for themselves. Being stranded for all these years must have made them feel betrayed.

“Old Soldiers Never Die…

May 28, 2005

T

hey just fade away.” This famous phrase–uttered by General Douglas Macarthur after being relieved of duty as head of East Asian military operations after WWII–might need to be rephrased for former WWII Japanese soldiers discovered in the Philipines: Old soldiers never die, they live out their lives in isolations, abandoned by the government they served.

According to Japanese news reports yesterday, former soldiers of the old Imperial Japanese Army were found on the island of Mindanao almost 60 years after the war ended. Japanese officials from the embassy have yet to meet them and confirm their story.

You can read it in English in the AP reports, but there are other details found in the Japanese language edition of a number of other newspapers, including Asahi. Apparently, they were members of the 30th Regiment of the 30th Division which was formed in Pyongyang, Korea and especially trained to fight the Russians, but they were sent to the Philippines to fight the Americans in 1944. A year later in April, when they were in a valley known as Malaybalay, they were ordered to “provide for themselves and fight for themselves” 自給自戦. When the war ended half a year later, they were in transit within the mountains and were not able to reunite with the rest of their Division and were left behind. They moved south to an area around Lake Buluan and lived there for the next few decades. It is yet unclear how they survived or if they interacted with the locals in an area controlled by the Moro Islam Liberation Front. Last year, a Japanese businessman involved in the lumber industry discovered these men–now in their 80s–and learned that they had wanted to repatriate to Japan but were afraid of being tried in military court for desertion. Another source has reported that there are more than 40 other former soldiers in the mountain. Complicating matters is the fact that Japanese officials have managed to set up meetings in General Santos City to interview them and confirm their identities, but the two did not appear at the appointed meeting.

Now, I realize that the Imperial Japanese Army caused a lot of pain and suffering throughout the Pacific, certainly in Korea, China, the Philippines and beyond. And for all I know, these guys played a major role in it. Still, if this story turns out to be true, I might feel for a bunch of soldiers who were ordered to “provide for themselves and fight for themselves”–No supplies. No food. No ammunition–then be abandoned by the very military and government that ordered them to fend for themselves. Being stranded for all these years must have made them feel betrayed.