Yap Island PeoplePeople of Yap Island
Yap: Isle of the stony cash, micro-crowned songs and only a drop of tourist.
To most of us cash is hard cash and metals, but for the people of Yap, who often use coin made of stones - the biggest natural coin in the word - living is harder. Yap's large, round "coins" with a centre pit were initially mined from the "rock islands" in the south of Palau and dragged to Yap on boats and floats.
A place on Yap, where old paths that were once rendezvous points for chieftains and are encircled by tens of large rocks intersect, is declared a World Heritage Site.
Several of the bigger bricks are never removed, although they have exchanged owners in the course of operations such as selling property, marriage and damage to people. The island celebrates its cultural life in a lively yearly exhibition of dancing, singing and costumes in March. Earlier in the story, Yap was initially populated by immigrants from the southernmost point of the Asiatic continent, the Malay Peninsula, as well as the Indonesian archipelago, Papua New Guinea and some of the Solomon Islands.
Yap has owned the company four different companies in recent years. The Spanish first came around 1500, before the Germans reigned around 1800 and the Japanese took power after the First World War. After Japan's Second World War failure, the Americans took over, and although Yap and the FSM are paramountly self-sufficient under a Compact of Free Association (COFA), the US is controlling its external policies and defense.
The Yapese have maintained their living cultures and oceanic tradition through various periods of colonisation. Males still navigating the star and making casual excursions with their big booms to Palau and Guam. It all happens here on the "island time". While most local people want more tourists to help the business community, they are split on suggestions for a new China mega-resort following concern in neighboring Palau, which has seen an enormous increase in the number of visits and possessions of diving and hotel facilities in China.
The Yaps want to preserve and show their way of life, but the challenges are how to grow their tourist industries without loosing their grip on this trend - and what makes their island special.